Archive for February, 2018
What is the Maximum Amount of Child Support That Can Be Ordered?
What are the Statutory Guidelines?
When the person being ordered to pay child support’s monthly resources are less than $8,550 a month there are presumptive amounts of child support set out in the family code and the court has the discretion to look at multiple factors in deciding how much child support should be paid. In general, the maximum amount in the code for someone making less than $8,550, without factoring in any special needs of the child or any of the other factors, is $1,710.
When the person being ordered to pay child support makes more than $8,550 the statute states that the court should presumptively apply the child support percentage amount to the amount that doesn’t exceed $8,550. Basically, it is presumed that you shouldn’t be paying more than $1,710 a month in child support for one child no matter how much money you make.
However, the statute goes on to allow the court to take into account the income of the parties and the proven needs of the child to set an amount above the $1,710 a month but this amount is not supposed to be higher than the amount of the proven needs of the child. The court has discretion to allocate the amounts to be paid into the “proven needs” of the child to each party in the Child Support case as long as they don’t order more than 100% of the proven needs of the child to be paid.
Child Custody – The Child’s Best Interest
“In the child’s best interest” is a common term used in child custody cases. The default presumption in Texas courts is that joint managing conservatorship will be the best interest of the child(ren). This means that both parents share equally in important decisions such as health and education.
The court will rule in favor of what they consider to be the best interests of the child. There are many factors and evidence presented that influence the court’s conclusion of the child best interest. All of which will affect the issues of custody, child support and visitation.
Health, safety, care, emotional needs, and siblings are all factors taken into consideration. In Texas, financial responsibility in taken into account. The court considers education, stability and medical care. In some cases, the parent who can best provide for their child are granted custody.
Standard Possession Order
Standard possession order will be likely granted by the court when parents like within 100 miles of each other. This means that one parent is given physical custody of the child(ren) and the other is given visitation. Holidays are typically divided between the parent with visitation and the other parent. The parent with visitation will receive two weekends a month with the children, two hours per week during the school year and one month during the summer.
What does “Full Custody” really mean?
The Texas Family Code addresses custody of a child in three different ways: (1) whether a parent has the ability to make decisions related to the child, (2) when each parent has the right to possession of the child, and (3) child support and medical support for the child.
To some parents, “full custody” means the first item on the list: making decisions for the child, including designating where the child lives most of the time (which also usually determines where the child will go to school), being able to consent to invasive medical, dental or surgical treatment for the child, and making educational decisions related to the child.
For this parent, who wants to make all of these decisions and to not let the other parent be able to make these types of decisions, “full custody” means being appointed the sole managing conservator of the child. A sole managing conservator is the person who has the exclusive ability to make decisions related to the child, absent life-threatening and emergency circumstances.
Modifying to “Full Custody”
When a prior custody arrangement is no longer working, a parent can ask the court to modify the previous orders.
Generally, a suit to modify requires two things: (1) a material and substantial change in circumstances of one of the parties affected by the order or the child, and (2) that the requested modifications are in the child’s best interest.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Divorce In Texas?
In reality there really is no such thing as a quickie divorce in Texas. Our state requires a minimum 60-day waiting period between filing and finalizing a divorce. Additionally, due to the legal complexities involved in divorce, most couples find it takes longer than two months to officially dissolve the marriage.
What Factors Affect How Long My Divorce Will Take?
It is impossible to give a definitive answer, however, there are many factors that can influence the length of your divorce process, including:
• Contested divorce versus uncontested divorce
• The specific issues that are being contested
• What court your divorce is in
• The other party’s attorney
• How reasonable you and your spouse are
• If both parties are willing to engage in mediation or collaboration
Uncontested Divorces Save Time And Money
For spouses who agree upon the terms of their divorce (called an uncontested divorce), the process of ending their marriage is much more efficient. In some cases, the parties decide upon the terms of their divorce before filing. In other cases, the agreement is reached soon after. Uncontested divorces have the benefit of being resolved immediately following the 60-day waiting period.