Time and Money. Those are two of the things that we as human beings are most concerned about, especially when considered in the context of our families. That goes double when you are going through a divorce.
Ultimately you are spending some time and money in the divorce to determine how much time and possibly how much money you get to spend on your children in the form of child support.
No matter what your conservatorship breakdown is, whether it be sole managing or joint managing, there will be certain periods of possession that you will be allowed that are spelled out within your Final Decree of Divorce.
You could be named as the parent with the right to primary possession of your child, where you have the right to be in possession of him or her during all times that are not accounted for in your final decree of divorce. I usually term this parent the “primary parent” for obvious reasons.
If you are not the primary parent then you are provided with court-ordered periods of possession of your child that are pretty clearly spelled out within the Final Decree of Divorce. Of course, you and your spouse would be able to negotiate to alter and amend the schedule as the need arises.
This is what most courts envision happening since schedules and needs change for families pretty frequently. However, if there is no need to change the arrangement or you and your spouse are not able to communicate effectively the possession order in your Decree will serve that purpose.
The Texas Standard Possession Order
Contained within the Texas Family Code, the Standard Possession Order is the go-to method for dividing up parenting time for judges in our state. Essentially every:
- First, Third and Fifth weekend of each month goes to the nonprimary parent and
- Every Thursday evening during the school year.
The way I explain the Thursday to clients is that you can swing by your ex-spouse’s house after work, pick your kiddo up and take them to Chic-fil-a for a bite to eat. It’s not a heck of a long time to visit, but it breaks up the week and ensures you won’t go more than a week without seeing your child.
You may be thinking that this breakdown in time does not seem very fair in terms of how time with your child is broken down between you and your ex-spouse- especially if you are the nonprimary parent.
In actuality, if you remove the time that your child is asleep or at school/daycare, you as the nonprimary parent would be with your child 47% of their waking hour's vs. 53% with the primary parent. If you truly want to bridge that gap to make it even closer to 50/50 my advice would figure out how to negotiate that with your spouse. Judges are not apt to vary too much from the Standard Possession Order if you are forced to go forward with a trial
Child Support- How much and for how long
If you anticipate that you will be the parent who is the “non primary” parent in terms of possession then you will likely have questions for an attorney regarding child support. In order to bridge the gap between yourself and your spouse in terms of caring for the child on a daily basis you will likely be ordered to pay child support to the primary parent.
This in and of itself frustrates many people- past clients of mine included. Not only are you losing time with your child but you are being made to pay money to your ex-spouse to top it all off. I think that’s the definition of adding insult to injury.
However, if we keep in mind that the money paid to your ex-spouse is for the benefit of your child and not the benefit of your ex-spouse hopefully that will make you feel a little less ornery about handing over some of your hard-earned money. Dollars to donuts, I bet you would spend whatever amount of money you have to pay in child support on your child regardless of whether or not a court ordered you to do so.
Payments of support occur usually once or twice a month and go through the State Disbursement Unit for the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division. The amount that you have to pay will largely depend on your amount of resources (net) on a monthly basis.
Whatever that amount is determined to be will be multiplied by a percentage based on how many children you are responsible for. If you have:
- one child a percentage of 20 will be applied,
- 25% for two children
- and so on up to 40% for five or more children.
This system is referred to as the Texas Child Support Guidelines.
If you are a high earner, it is important to note that only the first $8,550 of your net monthly resources will be considered for child support purposes. It is rare that a judge would ever deviate from this standard absent extreme circumstances.
Therefore, the only real way to adjust the figures is to take issue with the number of net resources that are being utilized to determine the actual monthly responsibility for child support. Having an experienced family law attorney representing you can be extremely helpful because he or she will be able to assist you in calculating your resources and can ensure that your spouse’s attorney isn’t being unfair in their calculations either.
The end of the line for our discussion on Divorce- tomorrow’s blog post
Tomorrow we will conclude our series of blog posts on Divorce by finishing up with the subject of child support. We’ll put a bow on everything by discussing some miscellaneous topics in divorce as well.
In the meantime, if you have any questions for the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC please do not hesitate to contact our office. A free of charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys are available six days a week in which your questions can be answered.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- The Texas Standard Possession Order
- Texas Parental Visitation - Texas Standard Possession Orders in Harris and Montgomery County, Texas - Part 1
- Grandparent rights in Texas: Visitation and Preparing for a case
- A Divorced Parent's Guide to Summer Visitation in Texas
- Texas Child Visitation Enforcement
- Summer Visitation Basics for a Divorced Parent in Texas
- How Does Summertime Visitation Work for Divorced Parents in Texas?
- How does summer visitation work?
- 10 Quick Tips About Parental Visitation
- When Your Child's Extended Family Wants Visitation in Texas
- Supervised Visitation in a Texas Divorce: Can it happen to me?
- In Texas are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
- Texas Child Visitation Modification
- Geographic Restrictions in Child Visitation Orders in Texas
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
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 one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are 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 Houston, Texas, Cypress, 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.