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How Texas Child Custody Laws Can Affect Your Divorce Case

How Texas Child Custody Laws Can Affect Your Divorce CaseWhen divorcing in Texas with children, the law requires that parents understand their rights and responsibilities. It is important to prioritize the children's needs during this difficult time and consider the mental, physical, and financial well-being of your family. The state of Texas has guidelines in place for divorcing couples who have more than one child, in which one parent may be designated as the custodial parent with whom the children will primarily live. This parent will assume legal responsibility for making decisions on their behalf such as where they go to school and medical decisions. Both parents are financially responsible for caring for their children after the divorce is finalized; however, a court may grant each parent visitation or joint custody depending on different circumstances.

It is beneficial to work together with your ex-spouse whenever possible throughout the divorce process to ensure an amicable separation. Working out an arrangement through mediation or arbitration before going to court can sometimes create better outcomes all around than an adversarial approach. If both parties agree on the terms of their divorce, they can draft a parenting plan that explains how parental duties are divided up between them and addresses issues such as education, health care, vacations, and religious observance. 

How Do I File for Divorce if I Have Kids?

When filing for divorce in Texas with children, it is important to understand the initial process. One spouse must file the original petition for divorce and officially become the petitioner while the other spouse becomes the respondent. Once this initial step is taken, additional steps may be required depending on the custody and visitation arrangements for any children involved in the divorce.

One complication that can arise when filing for divorce in Texas with children is if the child does not live in Texas. If a child has not lived in Texas for six months or longer, or if a child was born there but has been living elsewhere for more than six months, it means that legally Texas is no longer their home state. In these cases, parents may need to seek out specialized advice regarding custody and visitation rights as these cases can be more complicated than others.

Who Will Get Custody of the Kids?

When two parents can’t agree on custody, it can be difficult to decide who will get custody of the kids. Most commonly in such cases, the court will make its decision based on what is in the best interest of the child. In order to determine this, a court may consider several factors including each parent’s physical and mental health, their income and economic circumstances, as well as their ability to give the child love and guidance. If a judge decides one parent is better fit for nurturing and focusing on that particular child than another, that would be a major factor for them in their final decision.

If you are unable to come to an agreement with your spouse about custody, it is recommended that you contact an attorney who specializes in family law. An experienced legal professional will have knowledge about state laws and guidelines which can help ensure that your rights as a parent are being fought for. A good lawyer will offer appropriate support in making decisions regarding potentially challenging circumstances so that both parties feel satisfied with the outcome. With help from an attorney specializing in Texas family law, you can advocate for your rights while also considering what is best for your child.

What About Child Support?

Child support is a common issue that arises during divorces in Texas when there are children involved. The state of Texas uses guidelines to determine the amount of child support required, which is based on the noncustodial parent’s net income and the number of children. It is important to note that parties are able to agree to their own amount of support, either higher or lower than what is set by the guidelines. However, disputes may arise regarding a parent’s actual net income - an attestable figure for which each party will have different documentation. All areas of child support, such as coverage or payment issues that do not follow the guidelines can be difficult for both parents and often require court intervention in order to force cooperation between them.

In addition, enforcement of child support can be difficult if the paying parent fails to meet their obligations. The neglectful parent can accrue severe penalties and even face jail time if they fail to make good on those payments specified by the court-ordered judgment or settlement agreement within a given period of time. 

How to Protect Children in Divorce

Despite the fact that the divorce process can be very emotionally draining and stressful for all parties involved, it is vitally important for both parents to put their children’s emotional well-being first throughout the ordeal. While concrete aspects of a family structure may need to be adjusted due to a divorce, minimizing negative emotional fallout for kids should be an absolute priority. Unfortunately, in Texas divorces where emotions are running high, reasonable behavior often takes a back seat and children can suffer more as a result.

One way to minimize the trauma of divorce on children is by avoiding hostile behavior and rhetoric during proceedings. This is especially true in Houston courtrooms where personal grievances between spouses will not be taken into consideration in determining child custody rights or visitation schedules. Working with experienced legal advisors and counselors who understand how difficult divorce can be while also helping facilitate practical solutions at every step of the process, can help protect children from the potentially harmful effects of divorce and help ensure that children's emotional needs remain a top priority throughout the whole painful experience.

Talk to a Lawyer

An experienced divorce lawyer in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can help you with your divorce case. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.

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