Child Custody and Support in Texas
Even though it is psychologically and emotionally draining, one of the most important aspects of any divorce proceeding is determining custody of the children of the divorce and the appropriate amount of child support. Emotions run strong in child custody and support issues particularly if one spouse seeks to hurt the other because of the divorce. Regardless of ill feelings that may continue to exist between the parties, the most important thing to keep in mind is what would be in the child's best interest. This is what is mandated by Texas law, and it is also the goal of the court or any mediator assisting with the case.
Texas law presumes that parents in a divorce will share joint custody of their child or children from the marriage. The state calls this 'joint managing conservatorship.' However, this determination can be altered if there is evidence of drug abuse, alcohol abuse or domestic violence that affects the family unit and the children. In that situation, one parent is typically designated to be the sole managing conservator, and the other parent the possessory conservator. If a child is twelve years of age or older, they can designate who they want to be their managing conservator in a duly executed affidavit or in open court testimony before the judge. Neither is binding on the court and the judge will make his or her determination based upon what is in the best interest of the child.
Whether you are the managing conservator or possessory conservator, you will have specific rights and duties regarding the children, and have designated times of visitation or possession. An order requiring one parent to pay child support is also typically entered by the court. In Texas, a standard visitation schedule is entered into the divorce decree to provide guidance but the divorced parents can mutually agree on any schedule that fits their schedules and is in the best interest of the child. Generally speaking, The Texas Family Code establishes what a standard visitation or possession order ought to contain for parents by dividing holidays equally, providing visitation on two weekends a month, two hours on Thursdays of the weeks without visitation, and then thirty days during the summer.
Additional attention should be given in the divorce decree to designate with specificity the party who is obligated to pay child support, the amount of child support to be paid, to whom it should be paid and when, where and how it is to be paid. The amount of child support can be determined by many things including the ability of the obligated party to pay and any special needs of the child, however, the Texas Family Code establishes certain guidelines to be applied where the obligor's net resources are $7,500 or less as follows:
• 1 child - 20% of the obligor's net resources
• 2 children - 25% of the obligor's net resources
• 3 children - 30% of the obligor's net resources
• 4 children - 35% of the obligor's net resources
• 5 children - 40% of the obligor's net resources
• 6 or more - not less than 40% of the obligor's net resources
Agreements that relate to the custody and support of children in a divorce are extremely important for the protection of the children and peace of mind to divorcing parents. These agreements should only be written by an attorney that is experienced in family law matters.
San Antonio family attorney Allan R. Manka and his firm has nearly 60 years of collective experience in dealing with a wide array of family law matters and have built a sterling reputation with the judiciary and other attorneys in Bexar County and throughout the state. He has helped many clients in San Antonio and the surrounding areas of Pleasanton, Jourdanton, Hondo, Boerne and New Braunfels, in addition to serving those at Lackland and Randolph Air Force Bases.
Contact us today to schedule your confidential, no obligation consultation so that we can guide you through your family law matters.