Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Child support is calculated based on income.  People paying it feel it is too much.  People receiving it feel it is never enough.  Parents paying daycare understand child support usually doesn't even cover those costs let alone clothes, shoes, haircuts, birthday parties, etc..

It is fairly common knowledge that Texas calculates child support based on the non-possessory parent's net income20% for 1child, 25% for 2 children, etc.  Their website provides information on how to calculate child support for your particular situation.  

Texas does not care how much the other parent makes, whether they are being supported by a boyfriend or others. It is all about income.  If the the non-possessory parent is unemployed, works part-time or is a student, child support is calculated at minimum wage.   

If parents are considering split custody (50/50), each parent's income is taken into considerationA 50/50 split requires good communication as well as living close enough so that getting the children to and from school and activities is not a burden on anyone.  

Medical costs are usually split 50/50 between the parents.  Make sure you submit the bills to the other parent promptlyContributing to the cost of providing health insurance is also seen as additional child support (but the cost must be the amount just to cover the children).  Parents are ordered to cover those costs regardless of who carries the insurance.  

Child support, possession, income, health insurance, out of pocket medical expenses are issues that you should become very familiar with.  The Attorney General claims they review child support cases every three years.  You can hire a private attorney to review your case and determine whether filing a modification or enforcement  action is appropriate.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

This time of year I get lots of calls from people desperate for information about divorce, custody, moving, etc. A great first step is to pick up the phone and call a lawyer!  If I am available, I talk directly with callers and try to reassure them that they are doing exactly what they should do.  Get information from a lawyer - it will help you sleep better.

One of the most urgent questions is often that the raging spouse threatened to take away the children and the caller is frantic to find out if that is even possible.  Usually, the couple is more intent on inflicting pain on the other person than rationally working out how the parties will share the kids.  I find myself stating over and over that in Texas, parents share their children unless there is something going on that is dangerous for kids to be around.  People know how to hurt each other and kids are used to inflict pain, fear and panic.  

I usually need to go over the child custody terms we use in Texas (joint managing conservators, sole managing conservators or even possessory conservators).  Each term comes with rights and duties specific to the name.  How much you see your child depends on many things such as age of the child, distance and work schedules.  Time with your child has more  to do with actual parenting than it does with who cheated, how many times or what you posted on Facebook. 

Things get very serious when I find out there is violence or drug use around the children.  If those things are happening, it is urgent that we work very quickly to protect the children and both parties. 

Without those two serious issues, parents share their children.  Judges love to remind parents that the kids have a right to see each parent and to love them regardless of whether the parents stay together or even speak to each other.  If you can recognize your child's right to see, talk to and love their parent you are on the right track for getting through a very difficult and challenging time if in your life.  

I am a family law attorney working in the San Antonio, TX area.