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When a married couple divorces, they must divide their marital property according to state law. Texas law uses the community property system, where all property acquired by either partner during the marriage becomes part of the community property of the marriage, with a few types of exceptions. This means that just about everything the couple owned together during the marriage must be divided according to state law. Community property can include bank accounts, investment accounts, automobiles and just about any other type of asset.

For many couples, the family home is the most valuable and important asset. Therefore, division of the home is often one of the most difficult parts of any property division process.

If the parties can’t come to an agreement on their own, a court will decide how to divide ownership of the home. That’s where the law can get tricky.

Texas law provides that the community property must be divided between the parties in a divorce, but it does not say this division must be 50-50. The court can consider a number of factors in determining how to divide the community property in a way that is fair.

One factor is the ownership status of the asset at the moment it was acquired. This is known as the “inception of title” rule, and it means that, for instance, if one spouse owned the home before the marriage, he or she may have a claim to a greater share of the home in the event of a divorce.


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When parents in Texas decide to part ways, this process can be complicated due to custody. Child custody can be determined between the divorcing spouses; however, if an agreement is not reached, the court will have to step in to help the parents determine what agreement is best for the child in that particular situation.

Unlike other states, custody is referred to conservatorship in Texas. When the court considers a custody arrangement in the state, they will consider the wishes of the child or children; however, this is often dependent on the age of the children involved.

There are a number of important factors the court will consider when devising conservatorship in a matter. To begin, they will consider whether or not joint conservatorship would benefit the child’s physical, psychological and emotional well-being.

Next, they will consider if each parent will be able to encourage and promote a relationship with the child and the other parent.

Other important factors include whether parents can effectively communicate to make decisions for the child, the amount of time each parent contributed to the upbringing of the child prior to the custody matter, how close and far each parent’s home is in relation to the other and other important factors and circumstances the court may find relevant.

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How to Modify Your Child Support in Texas

How to Modify Your Child Support in Texas

There are specific guidelines in Texas for modifying child support. According to the Texas Family Code, a child support order can be modified if:

• It has been three or more years since the order was established or last modified and the monthly amount of the child support ordered differs by either 20 percent or $100 from the amount that would be awarded according to child support guidelines; or

• A material and substantial change in circumstances has occurred since the child support order was last set.

Those material and substantial changes aren’t just limited to a decrease (or an increase) in income; if an obligor becomes legally responsible for additional children, or if the children’s medical coverage and/or living situation has changed.

The child support amount doesn’t change until the court officially changes it, even if a request for modification is underway, regardless of circumstances. And if parents do agree in the child support review process, it still does have to go to a judge for a final signoff, which the office will do.

There is some new ground being broken with 50/50 custody arrangements. In some cases, both parents’ incomes will be taken into account, a child support amount would be calculated for each, and the parent with greater income would pay the parent with lesser income the difference in child support.

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Whether it’s by way of a divorce filing, paternity case, or stand-alone child custody proceeding, parents (and courts) want to ensure the best interests of children will be met, and that they’ll have the needed financial support to make that possible.

While calculating child support is a matter which can vary from case to case, it is viewed as an undeniable obligation for any parent – meaning a parent owes child support regardless of whether they see their children or not.

Under the Texas Family Code, there’s a formula used to determine the amount of support a parent is obligated to pay for their child, and it calculates support amounts based on more than employment income alone.

Net Income Calculation

Generally, the child support formula is a Net Income Calculation which computes the average net resources of the parent paying support by subtracting Social Security taxes, income tax (federal), union fees, health insurance, and other related liabilities from gross income.

Under Texas law, gross income includes not only salary but also bonus and overtime pay. It generally includes income from:

• Salary, overtime & bonus pay;

• Commissions/cash tips

•Interest or dividends

• Rental/investment income

• Royalties/oil and gas mineral interests

• Trust or retirement income

• Gifts, prizes, and any spousal support from a previous marriage

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1. How is child support calculated?

In Texas, the amount of child support that a parent is paid depends on their net income (their after-tax income) and the state’s child support guidelines.

Put as simply as possible, the child support guidelines in Texas are as follows:

• One child: 20% of the paying parent’s net income

• Two children: 25% of the net income

• Three children: 30% of the net income

• Four children: 35% of the net income

• Five or more children: 40% of the net income

2. What if I have other children living with me?

If you are supporting other children in your home, the state will adjust the guidelines based on the total number of children you are financially supporting. If you are supporting other children or, if you started a second family with your new spouse, you should inform the judge, the OAG staff, that you are supporting other children.

3. Can I be denied visitation if I cannot pay support?

Visitation and child support are two separate issues, even though the court makes determinations on both. Custodial parents are obligated to obey court orders for visitation, even if the noncustodial parent cannot afford to pay child support. In the case of a custodial parent denying visitation, the court can enforce the court order. However, it is never a good idea to not pay child support, even if you cannot afford it. You should make remedial efforts as quickly as possible to inform the court of financial changes.

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Child custody is legally known as a conservatorship in Texas. There are three types of conservators: joint managing conservator, sole managing conservator, and possessory conservator. Courts presume that both parents will be joint managing conservators, meaning both parents share decision making for the child; however, the time spent between each parent may not be equal.

Parents appointed as a conservator have the rights to:

• Access to the child’s medical, dental, psychological, and educational records

• Receive information from another conservator concerning the child’s health, education, and welfare

• Talk with the other parent to the extent possible before making decisions about the child’s health, education, and welfare

• Consult with the child’s doctor, dentist, or psychologist

• Consult with school officials about the child’s welfare and educational status

• Be the child’s designated emergency contact on records

• Attend school activities

• Consent to the child’s medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency

• Manage the child’s estate

A judge may name one parent as the sole managing conservator. A sole conservator will have the exclusive right to make most decisions regarding the child including the child’s primary residence, consent to any medical or psychiatric treatments, represent the child in legal action, etc.

Additionally, they will receive child support from the other parent.

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When parents in Texas are going through divorces, they may overlook some potential issues concerning who will be responsible for paying for their children’s back-to-school supplies, clothing and other related expenses. The financial responsibility of paying for these items may depend on the parenting and custody arrangements that the parents have.

Buying all of the items for going back to school can be expensive, and the costs may lead to disputes between the parents. Generally, if one parent has primary custody and the other pays child support, the custodial parent should be responsible for paying for these costs. Child support should include enough money to pay for the ordinary costs of raising the children, including the back-to-school items.

Shared parenting, in which the children spend equal amounts of time with both parents, has become more common. In this type of custody arrangement, both parents should be responsible for paying a portion of the back-to-school expenses rather than one shouldering all of the burdens. Parents might meet and discuss the expenses in order to work out an agreement. In order to prevent disputes in the future, writing detailed parenting plans may prevent small disputes from turning into major arguments.

When parents are divorcing, crafting detailed parenting plans is vital. Parents who divorce should remember that they will need to work together for the benefit of their children.

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