Usually, the non-custodial parent or “payer” will be ordered to pay certain recurring amount of support. This may be monthly, weekly, or bi-weekly, often depending upon the structure of that person’s income schedule. The amount can be taken directly out of a non-custodial parent’s paycheck through an “income deduction order,” which may be the easiest to enforce a child support order. However, in many cases, either an income deduction order isn’t issued, or can’t be enforced due to the type of employment of the payer or other circumstances. In these cases, the noncustodial parent is responsible for making the payments.
When the parent responsible for paying child support does not, arrearages can add up quickly. This is to the detriment of the child, and the law has a few different ways custodial parents may attempt to enforce their children’s right to support.
The state may intercept tax refunds or certain other government payments owed to the nonpaying parent and distribute this to the custodian. The delinquent parent may have his or her driver”s license or professional licenses suspended until support is paid. Liens may be filed for the amounts owed on property owned by the nonpaying person. Finally, a motion for contempt can be filed against the noncustodial parent so that he or she must pay some amount to avoid being found in civil contempt and possibly even sent to jail.
For various reasons, Texas parents may fail to abide by their legal obligations to financially support their children, and in those instances, it is important for custodial parents to understand their options to enforce their children’s rights.
Modifying a Standard Possession Order in Texas
Parents in Texas who are no longer in a relationship with one another will want to see that, despite their differences, they are both able to provide their child with a supportive and stable environment in which to grow. Therefore, the parents will either work out a standard possession order out-of-court or one will be decided upon by a judge that meets the child’s needs and allows each parent to have a meaningful relationship with their child.
Sometimes a standard possession order that had been working for years is no longer tenable. When that happens, a parent may want to pursue a modification of the order. However, there are certain elements that must be met to modify a standard possession order. These modifications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
There are three circumstances in which a standard possession order may be modified:
1. If there has been a material and substantial change in either the parent’s circumstances or the child’s circumstances.
2. If the current order is no longer workable or, due to existing circumstances, is no longer appropriate.
3. If one parent relocated with the child without notifying the other parent 60 days in advance.
Moreover, a child’s needs will change as they grow. Sometimes as time goes by, an original standard possession order is no longer meeting the needs of the child.
Property Division Not restricted to 50-50
Property division is not always 50-50 in divorce under Texas Family Law
Contrary to what many people believe, Texas Family Law does not mandate a 50/50 division of property in a divorce. Under Texas Family Law, the Court is charged with a duty to divide marital property in a manner that is “just and right.”
Whether a divorcing spouse is entitled to a disproportionately larger share of the community estate under Texas Family Law depends on the facts of a particular case. Each case is unique and one of the primary factors the Court considers in making a disproportionate property division is disparity in earning capacity. The conventional wisdom behind this thinking is that the higher income earning spouse can recover the difference more quickly than the lower earning spouse.
Other Factors Include
• disparity in the ages of the spouses ( a significantly younger spouse has more time to replace assets than the older spouse);
• education of the spouse;
• the relative physical conditions of the spouses;
• the size of separate estates of the spouses;
• education and future employability of the spouses;
• the length of the marriage, and
• attorney fees paid by a spouse in the divorce.
VIRTUAL VISITATION CAN HELP SUPPLEMENT YOUR CUSTODY ARRANGEMENT
When parents divorce or separate, it is the children who often suffer the most. Figuring out the best custody arrangement is not always easy, and sometimes life demands or the need to relocate make it difficult for one or both parents to get the time with their kids that they really want. Is there any way to improve custody time without changing the amount of physical time children get with each parent?
Yes. Virtual visitation is not new, but it is something that parents have not really considered including as part of their custody arrangements.
Virtual custody is keeping in contact with children by utilizing various forms of technology. Just about everyone has a cellphone, phone, computer, tablet, or at least access to one of these things. It is just the way the world works now. Examples of virtual visitation would include:
- Video calling
- Sending texts or emails
- Using social media messenger apps
Technology has improved the way that family members stay in contact. If can certainly help children keep in contact with parents who may not be around as much as they would like.
Virtual visitation may not work for everyone, but it can certainly help children and parents in certain circumstances keep their relationship strong. Texas is one of just a few states that has virtual visitation laws, so those interested in including it in their custody plans can seek help in doing so.
How does alimony work in Texas?
The end of a marriage doesn’t necessarily stop all transactions or lines of communication between the ex-spouses. Divorced parents, for example, have to coordinate child custody matters and handle issues such as child support. Another post-divorce obligation is alimony.
In Texas there are two kinds of alimony — contractual alimony and spousal maintenance. Contractual alimony isn’t subject to the same court oversight as spousal maintenance. Generally, payment of contractual alimony is based on an agreement signed by both parties.
To receive spousal maintenance, however, one has to qualify. Determining a spousal maintenance award can be a complicated matter, and the court will consider a range of factors. For example, does the person seeking support have a disability or care for a child with a disability? How long was the marriage? Was there domestic violence while the parties were married? Is the potentially paying spouse able to make the payments?
Spousal maintenance can be awarded if the court finds that the requesting spouse is unable to “earn sufficient income to provide for minimum reasonable needs.” It used to be the case that courts awarded spousal maintenance only if the parties had been married for a minimum of 10 years. Now the courts take into consideration matters such as disability and the requesting spouse’s ability to gain employment.
If the requesting spouse has a disability, then spousal maintenance may be ordered for the duration of the disability. In some of these cases, maintenance is ordered indefinitely. Generally, though, courts order maintenance for 10 years, seven years or five years.