Divorce Texas Style: Follow These Steps and Avoid These Errors for a Successful Experience

In yesterday’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we delved into strategies for navigating your divorce Texas style. While every divorce is unique, our attorneys have gathered valuable tips and tricks over the years that can help you maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. If you have any questions about the topics we covered, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office. We offer free consultations six days a week, where our attorneys can address your concerns and provide direct guidance tailored to your situation.

Co-parent with your spouse if at all possible

In some instances, you will be filing for divorce because your spouse has been physical, emotionally or sexually abusive towards you. If this describes your situation then obviously I would not advise you to have any, or at most minimal, contact with your spouse. This goes beyond presenting a strong case for a judge and falls under a category of safety issues that you need to be aware of and take very seriously. Your attorney should be able to assist you with obtaining a restraining or protective order in those circumstances.

On the other hand, if there is no family violence in your household then you should be considering how you can effectively co-parent with your soon to be ex-spouse. This may not sound like a lot of fun and in most circumstances, it will not be. After all- you’re divorcing this person for a reason and the thought of having to work together with him or her probably does not appeal to you a great deal at the present moment.

Cooperative parenting: keys to success

Allow me to make an argument as to how your ability to parent with an ex-spouse is going to serve you well both now and into the future. For starters, the court is going to smile upon those parents who work together to raise a child. Just because your marriage is ending does not mean that your role as parents is also ending. In fact, I would argue that the needs of your children for you to be a “super parent” increase by a factor of ten when you are getting a divorce. Imagine your children who have only known one living arrangement their entire lives. Now envision your divorce process throwing that arrangement into a tailspin as you and your spouse navigate the separation. You may feel ok with the decision but it is unlikely that your children will.

Visitation is going to be a by-the-book arrangement from this point forward

As parents, we can sometimes take for granted being able to spend time with our kids pretty much whenever we want to. Waking up to your daughter’s excitement on Christmas morning or comforting your son after a nightmare in the middle of the night may seem routine, but these moments are precious opportunities to bond with your children every day.

That all will likely change once your divorce case is underway. For starters, you and your spouse will either agree to or have temporary orders implemented by a court after a hearing. Temporary orders aim to prevent any harmful actions or attempts to conceal children during divorce proceedings. Typically, they establish child support payments from one spouse to the other. I’d like to focus on the part of temporary orders that sets up a visitation schedule for you and your spouse to follow.

One of you or your spouse will have visitation time while the other assumes the role of primary conservator for your child, as outlined in the possession schedule. Let’s break this down a little further. Being the primary conservator of your child means that your child will reside primarily with you in your home during the school year. Your home will be the location for spending school nights.

Navigating child visitation schedules in divorce

Your soon to be ex-spouse will have a visitation schedule. The visitation schedule allows him or her to be able to spend time with your child outside of these hours. During the school year, the majority of your ex-spouse’s time with your child will be on weekends beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday and ending at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Your orders will outline the specifics of holiday visitation schedules, although we don’t have room to delve into them here. Just know that at the end of the day both you and your spouse will have a schedule to stick to as far as time with your children is concerned.

This brings me to the point I would like to make: unless there is an emergency you will need to follow the possession/visitation schedule as outlined in your orders. The reason is that your ex-spouse will be relying upon them as well and it is not fair to take matters into your own hands and extend your child’s stay at your home unilaterally. Of course, the two of you are able to come up with your own schedules on the fly as long as you can both agree to the changes made. However, without any other agreement, you are bound by the possession schedule in your orders.

Of course, things like family emergencies pop up every once in a while that require you to make changes on the fly without first consulting your ex-spouse. However, absent these sort of situations that occasionally come up it is best to abide by the order. If you fail to do so you will likely be on the receiving end of an enforcement lawsuit and a court date to explain why you did what you did to a judge.

Responsible for paying child support? Do everyone a favor and pay on time

As I alluded to in the section prior to this one, child support is a staple of almost every family law case in Texas. The parent who has visitation rights to your child will be paying child support to you (the parent with whom the child resides with primarily). Your orders from the court will lay out specifically what you need to do as far as how to pay, how much to pay and when to pay it. There will be little question as to what your responsibilities are as far as child support is concerned.

The crucial question to consider is: how could your ex-spouse fail to fulfill the child support obligations mandated by the court? For example, if your ex-spouse is on the hook for paying $1000 a month in child support then on the first of the month or maybe on the first and fifteen of the month he or she will be paying money to you towards that support. The purpose of child support is to “even out” the costs of parenting your child. You will receive child support payments from your ex-spouse to offset the difference in time spent with your child, as you have primary custody.

Challenges in direct child support

Life often disrupts the clear-cut orders, leading to issues for individuals. For instance, even with a wage withholding order directing their employer to deduct a set amount for child support from their paycheck, it’s common for the employer to overlook or mishandle the order. This situation can leave you in a challenging position, as you likely rely on that money for your child’s daily expenses. Depending on how long it takes to resolve the problem, you may be owed thousands of dollars.

Secondly, it sometimes happens that for whatever reason you may end up agreeing with your ex-spouse to receive the child support payments directly from your ex-spouse rather than through the State Disbursement Unit of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). This is not advisable, however. The OAG provides you with evidence of issued payments by maintaining online records of transactions. Once you allow your ex-spouse to send payments to you directly you no longer have the government helping you to keep track of the amount and frequency of payments. Then, you must rely on the trust you have in your ex-spouse to fulfill their child support obligations as outlined in your Final Decree of Divorce. This puts you in a precarious position should your ex-spouse waffle on that commitment and wind up not paying you support over a certain length of time.

Preparing for child support challenges

The best advice I can offer is to strictly adhere to the child support orders established in your case. If you’re the receiving parent, don’t allow your ex-spouse to deviate from the order. Ensure they pay through the OAG and notify them in writing of any missed or incomplete payments. Make it clear that failure to comply will result in an enforcement lawsuit.

If you are the parent who is to pay child support to your ex-spouse you need to prepare for issues with your income. Notably, if you lose your job you should contact the OAG to notify them of this fact but you should also do whatever you can to have some cash in reserve in order to pay out child support while you are looking for work. I know that in today’s world it is getting harder and harder in some cases to save for the payment of child support. However, it will help you out a great deal down the road if you can think ahead and save money for this purpose.

In the realm of divorce Texas style, child support is often a straightforward matter. One party pays, the other receives, with clear deadlines and amounts outlined in advance. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the terms of your Final Decree of Divorce and keep a copy handy for reference. Should your ex-spouse attempt to deviate from the agreed-upon terms, having the decree readily available allows you to address any discrepancies effectively. Remain vigilant and adhere strictly to the terms of the decree, without making any exceptions. Be ready to pursue legal action if needed to enforce compliance.

Much more to be said on Texas divorces, so stop by the blog tomorrow to be a part of the conversation

We always appreciate your feedback so please feel free to comment on this blog or contact our office with any suggested topics or thoughts about the content that we have included in the blogs that we produce. After all- we are writing these blogs to help the people in our community- and that includes you!

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the content of today’s blog post or seek clarification on anything you’ve read, please contact our office as well. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan takes a great deal of pride in representing our clients and seek to provide information that can assist in that endeavor. A thirty-minute consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys is always free of charge.

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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyer

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with a Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.

A divorce lawyer in Spring TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.

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At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, the firm wants to get to know your case before they commit to work with you. They offer all potential clients a no-obligation, free consultation where you can discuss your case under the client-attorney privilege. This means that everything you say will be kept private and the firm will respectfully advise you at no charge. You can learn more about Texas divorce law and get a good idea of how you want to proceed with your case.

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