Month: October 2014

UNDERSTANDING COMMON VISITATION SCHEDULES FOR CHILDREN IN A DIVORCE

Many of my clients’ biggest concerns when contemplating divorce is what access to their children will be after the marriage ends.  The first thing I tell my clients is to not worry: provided there are no issues related to the children’s safety, the State of Texas wants a divorced parent to have enough access and be an involved parent.  If you want to be an involved parent, the law will support you and your ex-spouse, most likely, will not be able to prevent you from seeing your kids.  But how exactly does the law divide up the time with the Children?

In many cases the parties can come to an agreement on a specific schedule that works with their family and circumstances.  Texas Courts generally accept and approve a schedule of visitation that the parents create by agreement.  In cases where the parents cannot agree, the most common visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent is called the Standard Possession Order. It grants the non-custodial parent time with the child every Thursday evening during the school year, and the every first, third, and fifth weekend of each month beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday. In addition to these times, the non-custodial parent also has the children 30 days in the summer, a week during Christmas break, and alternating spring breaks and Thanksgivings.

For non-custodial parents that would like even more time with the children they can request the Court put them on Expanded Standard Possession Schedule. If awarded, the Expanded Standard Possession Schedule, the non custodial parent can elect to keep the children over night on Thursday and their weekend possession can be extended to the time school resumes Monday morning.  Expanded Standard also increases the time available for holidays.

Furthermore, if the non-custodial parent believes that even the Expanded Standard Possession schedule is not enough time with the children, that parent can negotiate an agreement for more time with the other parent or ask the Court for a schedule that divides the time with the children 50/50.  At the end of the day, it is important to understand that when choosing to get a divorce, it does not mean giving up a parents ability to have meaningful time with their children.

Calculating Child Support in Texas

Great Online Tool for Parents with Questions about Child Support

One of the most common issues I am contacted about is child support.  The question I am often asked is  “how much child support  will I have to pay?” or “how much child support will I receive?”.  Generally, speaking the amount of child support a Court will award follows a statutory formula.   The formula is based on the monthly net resources of the parent that will be paying child support,  the number of children that will be subject to the order for child support, and the number of other children the obligor has a duty to support.

The Texas Attorney General’s office has a useful online calculator where you can enter your specific earning information and family situation and it will estimate the amount of the monthly child support obligation.  It is a great tool to see if it might be time to ask for a modification of a current child support order or to have more information if you are thinking about asking for child support.

The Texas Attorney General’s office has a useful online calculator where you can enter your specific earning information and family situation and it will estimate the amount of the monthly child support obligation.  It is a great tool to see if it might be time to ask for a modification of a current child support order or to have more information if you are thinking about asking for child support.

Here is the link:

https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cs/calculator/

 

How much will my divorce cost?

A common question from people considering divorce is how much getting divorce costs. The answer depends on several variables. Aside from attorney’s fees, there are court costs and filing fees to file an initial petition for divorce and other pleadings. Also, there’s a cost for using a process server to give notice to the responding spouse. Other fees may include court-ordered services such as parenting classes, mediator fees, or social-study fees.

Attorney’s fees are usually more than court costs and filing fees. Because most attorneys charge by the hour, the cost of the divorce depends on how much time and work the attorney has to spend on the case. In highly contested and disputed cases, attorney’s fees are typically very high because the attorney has to spend lots of time advocating for the client. On the other hand, if the parties work mainly by agreement with little work required from the attorney, the cost is much lower. Essentially the cost of attorney’s fees for your divorce will depend on how much you and your spouse want to fight with the assistance of legal counsel.