A Divorce Process
If your case involves a divorce, we recommend that you first read through our outline of the divorce process. This page will give you an overview of a typical divorce. Clearly, your case may very well be more complex than the outline in this article.
Dallas Divorce Process
Child Possession and Visitation - Custody
The Standard Texas Possession schedule. It's not perfect, but it gets close to 50/50 while providing each parent frequent contact with their child. The following page, Possession, i.e., Child Visitation, is a plain language description of the standard order. Your order may very well be different and highly customized. Click Possession, i.e. Texas Visitation to read this article.
The actual Expanded Standard Possession Order as promulgated in Texas is set out here. The order has been placed in this site in order to give you an opportunity to read and study the order. Yes, it is couched in a lot of legalize but this is necessary to make it enforcible. An order has to be crystal clear as to what it is ordering the parties to do. Click Expanded Standard Possession Order to read the actual State Bar of Texas promulgated order language.
Enforcement of the Texas Possession Order
Enforcement of the Texas Possession Order (visitation) Parents are all encouraged to work together in raising their child. Unfortunately, from time to time we see a parent who for one reason or another schemes to exclude a parent from the child's life. They may enroll a child in so many extracuriclar activities that the child is unable to "go on visitation." They may plan a family vacation during the other parents extended summer visitation. We had a case where the mother actually booked a cruise with the teenage child's friends and their parents during the father's summer possession. The child was then told to bring the travel abroad form to the father for signature. In other cases, a parent just may refuse to turn the child over. In these cases it is necessary to bring an enforcement action to hold the parent in contempt of court. Click Enforcement of the Texas Possession (visitation) Order to learn more.
Obligee is the person recieving child support and is the primary. This person has "the exclusive right to receive and give receipt for child support."
The Obligor is the person paying child support and is the nonprimary. This person may be subject to a wage withholding order. Frankly, the wage withholding order is a good idea. Although, it can be suspended.
Texas Child Support - A Primer:
Generally speaking only, child support is calculated based upon a percentage of net resources. Income includes all income from any source, including but not limited to, regular gifted support payments from parents. For example, an adult child in college receives regular support payments from his or her parents. The adult child has a child while in school. The regular support payments, although not taxable, is included in the net resource calculation for child support purposes.
Net Resources means after tax income with a deduction for one sigle payer, health insurance and union dues. For the first child in Texas, child support is calculated at 20% of net resources, the second child 25% and the third child 30%. Click on Child Support Primer to learn more.
Child Support Greater than Texas Guideline Support?
The maximum child support under Texas Guideline Support is $1,500.00 for the first child based upon minimum net resources of $7,500.00. It is possible to get an order from the Court that orders greater than guideline support. It is not something that occurs very often. Under §154.123 of the Texas Family Code, the court may order "periodic child support payments in an amount other than that established by the guidelines if the evidence rebuts the presumption that application of the guidelines is in the best interest of the child and justifies a variance from the guidelines." The lead case on "greater than guideline support" is Scott v. Younts which we have included here for your review. In calculating child support that "exceeds the presumptive amount established for the portion of the obligors net resources to [$7,500.00] requires that the entire amount of the presumptive award be subtracted from the proven total needs of the child. The remainder is then allocated between the parties as the court deems in the best interest of the child. In Scott the Court stated "given the broad discretion allowed to courts to determine the needs of the child, we cannot conclude that the court abused its discretion in setting the support order at $2,500.00. . . adding expenses for private school, extracurricular activities, and summer camp, the proven needs of the chide l exceed $2,700.00. Although these items are not bare necessities, we cannot say that they are contrary to the best interests of the child.
Note: trying to obtain child support greater than the presumptive
guideline support is outside of most
practitioner's experience (both lawyers and judges). It is very
unusual and, to be successful, will require a concerted focused effort.
Texas Child Support and Wage Withholding:
Sometimes people refer to wage withholding as "child support garnishment," it is really not a garneshment in the traditional sense. Garnishments are used for the payment of debt. Child support is an obligation to support a child. Wage withholding is not required for every child support order, but it is recommended. Note - it is not possible to pay child support directly to the the obligee/primary. It is simply not possible to do it. For further information, click on Texas Child Support - Wage Withholding.
Medical Support is Child Support:
The obligor, the person who is paying child support, generally (but not always) must provide medical support. They will provide health insurance through employment or will have to puchase it on the open market. If the person paying child support, the nonprimary, does not provide health insuarnce then the primary may purchase it on the open market and that expense will have to be reinbursed to the primary. Usually, both parties pay 50% each for the payment of uninsured medical costs - copay, deductable. For more informaitno on the duty to provide medical coverage for a child, please click on: Texas Child Support and Medical Support.
In short, the Obligor provides medical support through health insurance and in almost all cases each party pay 50% of uninsured medical expenses.
Defending the Child Support Enforcement Action:
Child support enforcement is one of the most common actions brought by the Texas Attorney General. Frankly, we don't like them very much and they very often get it wrong. It usually takes a concerted effort to get them to correct their mistakes. At one point, we subpoened the entired North Texas AG lawyer brigade to a court hearing in order to correct a clear error on their part. We couldn't get their attention in no other manner.
The most common scenerio is you were ordered to pay child support and didn't for a variety of reasons. Or, you may never have known about the child, or you paid your child support directly when you were supposed to pay it through the State Disbursement Unit. Or, you simply lost your job.
If you have lost your job, take action, get before the court to modify the child support obligation.
There are a number of legal defenses for nonpayment of child support. These include:
-- You are in actual physical possession of the child. The child now lives with you as if you were orderd primary in the first place.
-- You made direct payments to the custodial parent.
-- You do not have the ability to pay the child support as ordered because you lost your job or your business.
-- You have a mental or physical incapacity
that developed after the divorce.
The Child Custody case is probably without a doubt the most contentious form of litigation found anywhere. It is a fact driven case. Although traditionally, the mother was the primary care giver, this is not always the case. Click on Texas Child Custody.
Do I have a Child Custody Case. These cases are all fact driven. You may or may not. You may feel, rightly so, that you are about to lose a significant portion of being. Of all that you love and hold most dear. We understatnd that. Please review the page, "Do I have a Child Custody Case." Call our office to set up a free initial consultation.
Help & Support: