Archive for March, 2019

WHAT IS A STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER

 

Per the Texas Family Code, a Standard Possession Order constitutes the default visitation arrangement in all Texas divorces where children are involved. This SPO contains a detailed parenting time schedule setting forth not only exactly when you and your ex-spouse will have your children during the year, but also how you will go about exchanging them.Less than 100 miles apart:

If you and your ex-spouse will live within 100 miles of each other after your divorce, the SPO gives the children to the possessory conservator as follows: From 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Sunday on the first, third and fifth weekends of each month

• From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday during the school year

• Pick-up and return by the receiving parent of your children from and to the other parent’s home or another mutually agreed upon location

• Return to the other parent by the receiving parent of all clothing and other items the children bring with them

Over 100 miles apart:

If you and your ex-spouse will live more than 100 miles from each other after your divorce, the SPO gives the children to the possessory conservator as follows:

From 6 p.m. on Friday to 6 p.m. on Sunday one weekend each month

• Extended time during the children’s summer and spring breaks

• Choice by the receiving parent of which weekend, but (s)he must give the other parent at least 14 days’ prior notice via letter, email or phone.

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CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION IN TEXAS

CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION IN TEXAS

One of the issues that will frequently arise is how much child support must be paid. Having an understanding as to how child support is determined, issues that might be in dispute and what circumstances are important when making post-divorce modifications to an order is key to both the custodial and noncustodial parent.

In Texas, the amount of child support will be contingent on how much the noncustodial parent earns. The net income, after taxes, will be used to come to a conclusion on the child support order. For parents who have one child, the noncustodial parent will have to pay 20 percent of the net income. With two children, it will be 25 percent. If there are three children, it will be 30 percent. Four children will require 35 percent. And those with five or more children will pay 40 percent of their net income.

The court does not care whether or not the noncustodial parent is working when making this order. The parent will still be ordered to pay child support. Parents are advised to be as upfront as possible about their income when dealing with the court. In some instances, noncustodial parents who are ordered to pay child support also have other children who reside with them. Children who are living in separate households will mean that the guidelines are altered depending on the number of children the parent has. Informing the Office of the Attorney General about this situation is imperative as it will affect the order.

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HOW DO I GET A RESTRAINING ORDER IN TEXAS

HOW DO I GET A RESTRAINING ORDER IN TEXAS

In Texas family law cases, there are two separate types of protective documents that parties can seek. Restraining orders are not to be confused with protective orders. Most often, parties seek a restraining order in a divorce or suit affecting the parent-child relationship to take exclusive possession of property or the children.

For instance, in cases involving children and concerns for their safety, the requesting party requests the court to order that the children be removed from the other party’s custody and placed into the requesting party’s custody solely until the court hearing. This means that once removed, the other party will not have any access to the children until the hearing. To qualify for a temporary restraining order of this nature, one must present an affidavit that on its face alleges that if the court did not grant the restraining order, then the child’s physical health and/or emotional development would be significantly impaired. In many cases, this arises when it is discovered that other parent’s actions, decisions, or behaviors are dangerous for the children. Examples include drugs, criminal activity, neglect, absence of the other parent due to hospitalization, jail, etc.

Once the restraining order is granted, a hearing can request that the court continue the restraining order. Thought, often times, the court will not completely deny access to the children but rather grant supervised visitation by an appropriate supervisor; this is, of course, if supervised access is warranted and proven necessary. With that said, there are some cases when the need for a restraining order to remove children arises while the case is pending.

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HOW COURTS DETERMINE WHICH PARENT SHOULD BE THE PRIMARY CARETAKER

HOW COURTS DETERMINE WHICH PARENT SHOULD BE THE PRIMARY CARETAKER

When parents are battling for custody of their child, there are several things that the courts will look at to help them make the right decision. A parent’s income and physical condition are both very important to the courts, but so are things like the child’s wishes and who has acted as the primary caretaker. Of course, before they can factor this in, they will have to determine who the primary caretaker is by looking at what responsibilities each parent has taken on.

When trying to determine which parent is the primary caretaker, courts will look at which parent is responsible for the following:

• Planning and preparing the child’s meals.
• Grooming, bathing and dressing the child.
• Assisting with the learning of reading, writing and other skills.
• Purchases clothing and other necessities.

In many situations, there is one parent who has taken on all of the responsibilities, even though both should be contributing. This important factor could be what helps the court make its final decision in your case. However, just because the courts will look at who has been the primary caretaker, doesn’t mean that the other parent has no chance of being awarded custody.

Resolution around child custody cases are difficult for many parents. They want what is best for their child, but what they feel is best may not be similar to what the judge decides.

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DIVORCE MEDIATION: Frequently Asked Questions

DIVORCE MEDIATION: Frequently Asked Questions

• What is the role of the mediator? A mediator is a neutral party trained to assist couples resolve all of the issues associated with divorce, such as those pertaining to property division and child custody. This person is not a judge, so they don’t have the power to make final decisions on behalf of the divorcing couple.

• What does the process entail? During the first meeting, you’ll discuss all of the issues to resolve during mediation. From there, you’ll partake in additional meetings with the idea of negotiating and compromising until all issues are settled.

• How long does it take? There’s no easy answer to this question, as it depends on factors such as the willingness of both individuals to cooperate and the complexity of the divorce. On average, it could be a 4 to 8 hour long mediation(half day or full day)

• Do you have to appear in court? As long as you work everything out in divorce mediation, there is no requirement to go to court. This can save you time, money, stress and aggravation.

• How is it possible to go through mediation when we can’t get along? You don’t have to get along with your soon-to-be ex-spouse to benefit from mediation. With the help of the mediator, you’ll find it easier than expected to move through the process.

• Am I able to work with a family law attorney during mediation? Yes. Just because you’re not going to court doesn’t mean you have to tackle the divorce process alone.

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