Archive for May, 2017
HOW FAMILY COURTS VIEW “SPLIT CUSTODY” IN A DIVORCE CASE
When you are involved in divorce proceedings where children are involved, it’s going to be a difficult time for the children, and any final outcome will be a big adjustment. This is especially true when you have multiple children together. Many tough decisions must be made regarding child custody and parenting. In some cases, parents may feel that it is in the best interest of the children to split them up. Should that ever be a consideration? When one child wants to be with one parent, and the other child with the other parent, is it a feasible option? There are endless questions and strong opinions surrounding the splitting up of siblings.
Many new families choose to have multiple children in the first place so that the children can grow up to be close in nature. Buddies, best pals, playmates; that’s what we think of when we consider siblings. A built in best friend for your child, or in the case of bigger families, more playmates to go around. In the event of divorce, the dream of what you thought your family should be will have to change considerably.
To Split or Not to Split
Each family’s situation is unique, and the court system recognizes that. However, many family court judges will consider the divorce process to be somewhat traumatic for young children, and not be readily in favor of adding to the trauma by separating them from their sibling. In the event that the children actually prefer to be separated from each other, a judge may be more willing to sign off on a split custody arrangement. This option is usually only considered in cases where the children are old enough to be part of the decision making process. Although it varies by state, in Texas a child must be at least 12 years old to be considered old enough to have a voice in his or her own custody arrangement. At this age, a judge may take the child’s wishes into account, but by no means is held to honor those wishes.
A Personal Decision
It’s a very personal decision during a custody situation to decide whether or not to split up your children. If both parents agree to split up the children, the judge may be more likely to go along with the request, although it’s not the usual route taken. Primary joint managing conservatorship as it’s called in Texas, is usually awarded to one parent for all of the children involved. Many split custody situations come about as a natural progression of the children aging and the parents becoming more relaxed about the custody agreement. In these situations, the custody agreement can be legally modified to reflect the current living arrangements.
At the end of the case, the court will always make the decision based on the best interest of the children.
Child Support Enforcement in Texas
A number of Texas parents are delinquent on their child support and the state has ways of enforcing payments.
When parents decide to file for divorce, children involved in the separation are often forced to go through a financial and emotional transition. In order to minimize the dramatic financial changes that can take place during this hard time, Texas courts order the non-custodial parent to pay child support to the parent who maintains primary custody of the child. Child support can help parents pay for essentials, maintain solid ground and ultimately increase the child’s quality of life. Unfortunately, not all parents who are ordered to pay child support follow through with the obligation, and some children are left to struggle without the financial support they need and deserve.
In an attempt to collect unpaid child support and enforce current child support orders, the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division uses various methods. The negligent parent may be subject to the following:
• Suspended professional and/or driver’s license
• Payments deducted from their paychecks
• Intercepted funds from lottery winnings, income tax refunds and other sources of income
• Liens put against their property
Parents who owe child support may face jail time as well. Past due child support payments also accrue interest until the balance is paid in full.
Parents who owe a substantial amount of money in back child support may be put on the state’s Child Support Evaders list. These parents must owe a minimum of $5,000 in past due child support, and have a warrant out for their arrest. Furthermore, they must miss at least six months of payments and are avoiding apprehension. These parents cannot be involved in any pending bankruptcy cases
Since child support is such a critical part of a child’s life, it is important to ensure your child receives what he or she is entitled to.