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What Every Parent Should Know About Child Custody Laws in Texas

What Every Parent Should Know About Child Custody Laws in Texas In the state of Texas, the courts prefer to award joint custody between parents in child custody matters. This means that both parents share the responsibility of making decisions about the child's life and spend significant amounts of time with them.

Joint custody promotes the active involvement of both parents in their child's upbringing and development. In fact, courts only award sole custody in exceptional circumstances, such as when one parent has a history of abuse or poses a risk to the child's safety and welfare.

When parents cannot come to an agreement on their own, the court may appoint a parent as the primary conservator with the majority of physical custody time. That parent is responsible for making the major decisions, while the other parent may still have access to the child through visitation or possession time.

It's important to note that joint custody doesn't always mean a 50/50 split of time between parents. The court considers several factors when determining custody, including the child's age, physical and emotional needs, the parent's work schedules, and any history of violence or drug abuse.

When awarded joint custody, parents are required to create a detailed parenting plan outlining how they will share decision-making responsibilities and possession time with their child. This plan can include a visitation schedule, extracurricular activities, and medical care.

An experienced family law attorney can guide parents through the child custody process and help them reach an agreement that is in the best interest of the child. By prioritizing the child's needs and promoting the relationship between both parents, joint custody can lead to a healthier and happier environment for everyone involved.

How Are Visitation Rights Determined?

When parents split up, determining the custody of their children can be a complex and emotional process. In some cases, one parent may be awarded sole custody, while the other parent may be granted visitation rights. Visitation rights refer to the ability to spend time with the child when they are with the custodial parent.

The ideal situation is for parents to come to an agreement on their own regarding visitation rights. This allows them to create a schedule that works for their family and considers the child's best interests. However, if parents cannot come to an agreement, then the court will step in to make a determination.

When making a determination, Texas courts consider a range of factors, including the age, health, and emotional needs of the child, as well as the parent's work schedules and living arrangements. The court will also consider any history of domestic violence or substance abuse.

There are different types of visitation arrangements that may be granted. Standard visitation, also known as possession and access, gives the non-custodial parent specific visitation times, such as every other weekend and certain holidays. Extended visitation may be granted for longer periods, such as during summer vacation.

In some cases, supervised visitation may be ordered if there are concerns about the non-custodial parent's ability to ensure the safety and well-being of the child during visitation. The visits may take place in a supervised setting with a neutral third party present.

It's important to note that visitation rights can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in work schedule or a relocation. However, any changes must still be approved by the court.

Navigating visitation rights can be a challenging and emotional process. That's why it's important to work with experienced family law attorneys who can guide you through the process and ensure the best possible outcome for you and your child.

How Child Support Is Determined in Texas

Child support is an important consideration in any divorce or separation involving children. In Texas, child support is calculated based on a specific formula that takes into account the income of both parents, as well as the number of children involved.

In general, the parent who has custody of the child for the majority of the time will receive child support payments from the non-custodial parent. However, it's important to note that both parents have a legal obligation to support their children, regardless of custodial arrangements.

To calculate child support in Texas, the court will consider each parent's gross income, which includes wages, salary, bonuses, commissions, and other sources of income. The court will also consider any deductions from income, such as taxes and mandatory retirement contributions.

After determining each parent's income, the court will apply a percentage to that income based on the number of children involved. For one child, the percentage is 20 percent of the non-custodial parent's net resources, or income after deductions. For two children, the percentage increases to 25 percent, and so on.

It's important to note that there are certain limits to the amount of child support that can be ordered under Texas law. For example, the court cannot order a non-custodial parent to pay more than 60 percent of their net income in child support, regardless of how many children are involved.

In addition to basic child support payments, the court may also order the non-custodial parent to contribute to healthcare expenses, such as insurance premiums and deductibles. The court may also order the non-custodial parent to contribute to childcare expenses, such as daycare or after-school programs.

Overall, determining child support in Texas can be a complex process. It's important to work with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that the child support calculation is accurate and fair. A family law attorney can also help parents understand their rights and obligations under Texas law regarding child support.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Texas

An experienced family law attorney 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 explain and navigate the entire case process. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.

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