Houston Child Support & Custody Attorney

If a parent does not have primary conservatorship or custody of a child, he or she will likely be required to pay child support to the other parent until the child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever is later. Many parents rely on child support from the other parent to provide the best possible lifestyle for their child.

In general, child support is calculated based on a percentage of the net income of the obligor-parent. Child support also varies depending on how many children are involved.

Child Custody Attorney in Houston Texas

Types of Conservatorships in Texas Custody Cases

If you’re navigating a custody case, understanding the different types of conservatorships that could be available to you is essential.

In most custody cases, the court pursues a joint managing conservatorship (JMC). In a JMC, both parents have physical and legal custody of the child. Whichever parent the child lives with the majority of the time is the custodial parent, and the other is the noncustodial parent.

Courts tend to default to JMCs under the assumption that it’s ideal for a child to spend time with both parents consistently. However, if the court finds that one parent is unfit to care for their child, they may award the other parent with a sole managing conservatorship (SMC) instead.

In an SMC, whichever parent houses the child is called a “possessory conservator.” This parent often has almost total or total legal and physical custody of their child.

Termination & Adoption Cases

In Texas, a termination suit may be filed to protect the child’s best interest. Termination may be appropriate when a parent has abused, neglected, abandoned, or endangered the child. Regardless of the suit’s basis, termination of the parent-child relationship can only be granted if it is in the child’s best interest.  An adoption is a process by which a non-biological party becomes the parent of a child. All connection with the biological parent must first be severed, by death or by termination. In Texas, adults can be adopted as well.

Custody and Conservatorship

In Texas, the paramount consideration for any family law court is deciding what is in the best interest of the child. Courts encourage children and parents to maintain a close relationship. The Court will order minimum parameters for the relationship between the parents and the children which includes a list of shared rights and duties and time periods for possession of the children (commonly referred to as “visitation.”) The Texas Standard Possession Order is the established guideline for minimum periods of possession for the parents: however, courts encourage the parents to work together and agree on periods of possession whenever possible.

Frequently Asked Child Support & Custody Questions

In most cases, child support is calculated using a formula in the Texas Family Code. The payor’s monthly “net resources” (a term defined by statute) is multiplied by a percentage which is determined by the number of children at issue (e.g., the percentage for one child would be 20%). The payor is entitled to a reduction if he or she is also responsible for the support of another child.

Most divorces involving children name one parent as the primary Joint Managing Conservator and grant the other parent (also a Joint Managing Conservator) a “Standard Possession Order” for visitation. The visitation is spelled out in great detail in the statute (Texas Family Code Section 153.312) and should also be spelled out in detail in the Final Decree of Divorce. A very short hand version of a typical visitation order (assuming both spouses reside within 100 miles) is as follows: the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Friday of every month from Friday (beginning at either school dismissal or 6:00 p.m.) until the following Sunday at 6:00 p.m., every Thursday beginning at either school dismissal or 6:00 p.m. and ending either at 8:00 p.m. that night or when school resumes the following morning), as well as 30 days in the Summer, and additional visitation periods for Spring Break, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, depending on whether it an odd or even numbered year. While the Standard Possession Order is the most common visitation schedule, it may be inappropriate depending on the particular case. You should consult with your attorney to determine whether or not a Standard Possession Order should be applied in your case.

When the parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the court will make the decision for them after considering the totality of the circumstances, with the overriding consideration being the child’s best interests.

Paul Is Here To Help You

If need legal help navigating child custody and child support issues, Attorney Paul Moody can help.  He has helped thousands of clients work through legal issues with compassionate and competent legal help.  When it comes to family matters, there is usually a lot of emotions involved.  Attorney Paul Moody can help you get to a situation that helps your child best cope with a difficult situation.

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