Divorcing a spouse is never a choice any married individual wants to make, especially when there are children involved. Most of the time, parents try their hardest to keep interactions amicable, however, when parents divorce, they seldom think about the fact that they will now have to split their time with their children. Some parents can become vindictive of their spouses, and others will seek revenge in the divorce process or try to manipulate their ex-spouse in exchange for more time with their children.

Custody agreements in Texas were created with the sole purpose of providing a structured schedule in which parents split their visitation or parenting time with their children. This prevents one parent from alienating their child from the other, as well as ensures that the child is part of a structured schedule.

When considering a divorce with children involved, it is imperative that you ensure your parental rights are protected by hiring a nearby experienced Austin child custody lawyer, like Eric M. Willie, P.C. Austin Family & Divorce Lawyer. Our main goal is to ensure that parental rights are protected, as well as the best interests of all children involved. We often receive the same questions pertaining to Austin custody laws and want to provide a source of information for parents seeking a divorce. It is important to be well informed about the Austin child custody process to ensure that there are no surprises along the way, and parents are well informed of their custody and parental rights. If you are searching for an Austin child custody lawyer, call our office at 512-478-0834.

Child support in the State of Texas is determined by guidelines outlined in the Texas Family Code. Usually, the party who does not have the children living with them the majority of the time is the party obligated to pay child support.

Child Support Texas

How Does Child Support Work in Texas?

Child Custody Factors The party who does not have the children living with them a majority of the time is called a “noncustodial parent”. Parties can agree on an amount that the noncustodial parent pays, even agreeing that no child support is paid.

In the absence of an agreement however, the court will apply the following guidelines in order to determine an appropriate amount for child support:

1 child 20% of net resources
2 children 25% of net resources
3 children 30% of net resources
4 children 40% of net resources
5 children 45% of net resources
6 or more children Not less than 40% of net resources

Notwithstanding the above guidelines, a court can vary (up or down) from the guideline support and consider the following factors in deviating from guideline support:

  1. Age of the child, the child’s needs and special expenses;
  2. Parents financial ability, income, assets and resources;
  3. Child care expenses;
  4. Other child support expenses and custody care;
  5. Any current alimony expenses;
  6. Medical and health care expenses and insurance;
  7. Educational expenses including college;
  8. Employer benefits;
  9. Debts or other financial obligations of parents;
  10. Wage deductions;
  11. Travel costs associated with child visitation;
  12. Income or expenses relating to assets of parent; and
  13. Automobile, mortgage or lease payments.

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There are also special rules the court will consider where there is split custody situation or a joint child household. There are also special rules if you have children from other relationships.

During a child support negotiation, a court can also modify child support if the noncustodial parent’s income has increased or decreased since the last child support order.

Child support, child custody and child visitation issues are complicated and emotional for all parties concerned. Choosing an experienced and skilled family law attorney is extremely important because the choices you make now will affect you and your child for many years ahead. Situations differ and you may have questions if your 13 year old can have a say in child custody matters. Things can also get complicated when trying to transfer child custody.

How Is Child Custody Determined In Texas?

The best interests of the child are the only factors involved in determining child custody under Texas, and subsequently Austin, child custody laws. The wishes of parents and their schedules are not taken into consideration unless they are making known any verbal and physical abuse, as well as any substance use that has occurred in the presence of the child. Under Texas Family Code 153, a joint custody agreement is the presumed best child custody agreement for any children involved. This is also where it is stated that any parental considerations will be superseded by the best interest of the child.

Two Types Of Custody Arrangements

In Texas, custody arrangements are classified into two main types to address the responsibilities of parents and the care of the child after a divorce or legal separation.

  1. Physical Custody – Physical custody means that a parent can dictate the child’s living arrangements, and it can be joint or sole. Sole physical custody means the child primarily lives with one parent, while joint physical custody allows the child to divide their time between both parents’ households.
  2. Legal Custody – On the other hand, legal custody pertains to the parent’s authority to make significant decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as their healthcare, religion, and education. Similar to physical custody, legal custody can either be sole or joint.

In some cases, one parent may have sole physical custody, fostering a cooperative co-parenting environment. However, overall the court’s main consideration in determining custody under Austin child custody laws is the child’s best interests, ensuring their well-being and stability after the divorce process.

What Is The Most Common Custody Arrangement In Texas?

Joint legal custody is the most common type of custody arrangement in Texas, which is typically awarded to parents unless there are compelling reasons against it. The family court considers three custody options:

  • Joint
  • Sole
  • Third-party

Joint legal custody allows both parents to share decision making responsibilities and parenting time. It is encouraged for parents to contact an Austin child custody lawyer near you, such as Eric M. Willie, P.C. Austin Family & Divorce Lawyer, to establish a favorable parenting schedule and a thorough parenting plan that promotes effective co-parenting. If parents want to learn more about their custody options and how to create a successful parenting plan, consult with Eric M. Willie, and he will provide you with all the information you need.

state of texas child custody

How Does Child Custody Work With Unmarried Parents In Texas?

In Austin, the process of determining custody for a child of unwed parents closely resembles that of married parents. Upon the proof of paternity from the father, they will need to gain legal recognition as the parent’s child. Once that occurs, they are entitled to seek custody, whether it be sole or joint.

However, the judge’s final decision on the custody arrangements takes into account various factors and specific details of the case. The court prioritizes the child’s best interests, ensuring that the chosen custody arrangement creates a nurturing and suitable relationship and environment for the child’s upbringing.

At What Age Can A Child Say They Don’t Want To See A Parent In Texas?

In Texas, no child under the age of 18 can refuse to spend visitation or court-ordered custody time with their parent. Refusal cannot automatically prevent visitation with a parent. Visitation is legally recognized as the right of the parent, and this right can’t be revoked by either the custodial parent or the child. If a child does refuse visitation, the custodial parent can explore the option of requesting a modification of court orders, but this is challenging to achieve. Convincing a judge that cutting off visitation rights is in the best interest of the child is an uphill battle, however, it is one that Eric M. Willie Austin Family & Divorce Lawyer can take on.

For non-custodial parents concerned about a child’s reluctance to visit, the focus should be on repairing and nurturing the parent-child relationship. Prioritizing open communication and understanding the underlying reasons for tension between a child and their parent is crucial. Some families find professional counseling helpful in working through these issues, as it offers a supportive environment to mend bonds while addressing any underlying concerns.

texas child custody faq

Do You Have To Pay Child Support If You Have 50 50 Custody In Texas?

It’s a common misconception that opting for a joint conservatorship or 50/50 custody arrangement in Texas automatically exempts both parties from paying child support. The belief is that since both parents are actively involved in raising the children and making decisions for their well-being, financial support becomes unnecessary. However, this assumption is not accurate.

So, is child support required if you share 50/50 custody in Texas? The straightforward answer is yes, with a few specific exceptions.

The reason behind this is that even in cases of joint managing conservatorship where both parents equally contribute their time, resources, and responsibilities to their child, there might still be disparities in their respective incomes. Child support calculations also take into account factors beyond just parental income, further complicating the equation. As a result, even with equal parenting time, financial responsibilities still exist based on the specifics of each parent’s situation. In the subsequent sections, we’ll delve into these factors and exceptions that influence child support calculations. You can also read all about Texas child support in our guide to the basics of child support. There are several child support payment options available to Texas residents.

Can Grandparents Obtain Custody Or Have Visitation Rights In Texas?

In the state of Texas, grandparents generally do not automatically hold custody or visitation rights concerning their grandchildren. Nevertheless, specific conditions must be fulfilled for grandparents to potentially acquire such rights, as defined in the state’s legal regulations:

  • When seeking custody or visitation relief, it is necessary that at least one parent’s parental rights have not been terminated.
  • Grandparents must overcome the presumption that a competent parent is inherently acting in the best interests of the child unless withholding access would significantly jeopardize the child’s physical well-being or emotional health.
  • For a grandparent to pursue custody or visitation, they must be the child’s parent, and the parent of the child must be incapable or parenting due to the fact that they have either:
    • Been declared legally incapacitated by the court,
    • Are deceased
    • Lack actual possession or court-ordered access to the child

It’s important to recognize that these criteria are stringent, and achieving custody or visitation rights as a grandparent within Texas entails a comprehensive legal process and strict adherence to the specified conditions.

Does My Child Need To Appear In Court For Custody Hearings?

In most cases, your child won’t be required to attend court for custody hearings unless a Motion to Confer with Child has been filed. This type of motion is commonly submitted when one of the children is 12 years or older and wishes to communicate their preference to the court regarding their desired custodial arrangement.

However, it’s important to emphasize that bringing your child to court for family matters is generally discouraged. It’s advisable to avoid involving them directly in legal proceedings, as these situations can be emotionally taxing and may not be in their best interest. Instead, custody decisions are typically made based on the legal arguments and evidence presented by the parties involved, with the court’s primary focus being the child’s welfare.

divorce in texas with child

Can My Ex-Spouse Move My Children Out Of State Without My Consent?

Maintaining a stable and secure environment for the children is of paramount importance, and the court’s priority is to uphold that stability. In many cases, counties have standing orders in place that prohibit either party from relocating the children out of state without consent. Alternatively, if needed, your attorney can assist in obtaining a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent your ex-spouse from moving with the children.

Even if there are existing court orders governing your case involving child custody and visitation, you still have the option to file for a Temporary Restraining Order. This legal action can effectively prevent your ex-spouse from relocating the children out of the state. Furthermore, it’s possible to specify the geographical limits of the children’s residence, confining it to the state of Texas, the present county, or contiguous counties. This approach ensures that any potential moves out of state are closely monitored and approved by the court, ultimately safeguarding the children’s well-being and the stability of their environment.

What Are Grounds For Full Custody In Texas?

In Texas, when a parent is pursuing sole custody, the primary grounds typically revolve around demonstrating that the child’s well-being is compromised due to physical or emotional risks. These risks may stem from instances of abuse, neglect, or other compelling reasons that could endanger the child’s safety and emotional welfare. If you are trying to attain evidence for your court case, you may be wondering, “Can your spouse video record you without permission?”

Seeking full custody involves providing substantial evidence to substantiate these claims and convincing the court that the child’s best interests are best served by awarding sole custody to one parent. It’s important to note that the process for obtaining full custody is legally rigorous and necessitates a thorough presentation of evidence and arguments. It can get especially complicated if the child is adopted.

Contact An Austin Child Custody Lawyer Near You

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If you are searching for an experienced Austin child custody lawyer near you, contact Eric M. Willie at our office at 512-478-0834. For those seeking guidance or assistance in navigating the complexities of the child custody process, Eric M. Willie is here to provide valuable legal counsel and representation. Operating in Austin, Texas, and the surrounding regions, Eric M. Willie specializes in matters related to child custody and visitation. Our primary objective is to facilitate the formulation of mutual and harmonious resolutions that follow all Austin child custody laws. With a commitment to advocating for your rights and interests, Eric M. Willie stands ready to offer legal advice and representation throughout the child custody process in Austin. Contact us to have a skilled advocate by your side and learn more about your child custody options.

Reviews of Austin Child Custody Lawyer

“This firm represented me in my divorce for almost a year and we won all of our hearings. Mr. Willie is an outstanding attorney who know the ins and outs of both family law and the court system. You couldn’t ask for a better lawyer. Highly recommend.” – Valorie Bravo

“I met with Eric and the hospitality was great. He broke everything down to me perfectly and I greatly appreciated it. He is willing to fight for everything you want to accomplish during your tough times. I would definitely recommend him to anyone needing a Family Attorney!” – Christopher Colter

“I found Mr. Willie both competent and professional. His strategy to address a modification petition was sound and successful. What impressed me most was his matter of fact way of analyzing the issues. He was candid and kept things simple as well as understandable. No confusing legal talk, just a clear, direct and sensible manner of approaching the conflict. Further, if you’re looking for a lawyer that will go the extra mile, Eric Willie is your man. We encountered a filing issue due to the COVID shutdown and he stayed with it until completion, proving himself a loyal and devoted attorney. I remain grateful for Mr. Willie’s services and would recommend him for any family law proceedings.” – Freddy Erdman

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