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Fort Worth, Texas Divorce Law Blog

Kardashian, Chyna reach agreement regarding child support

Texas reality television fans and those who like to keep up with the Kardashians might be interested in the details of an agreement between Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna. The two settled their child support dispute centering on their daughter, Dream Kardashian, and will share custody of the child going forward. Rob Kardashian will make child support payments in the amount of $20,000 per month to Chyna.

Chyna had previously alleged that Rob Kardashian had committed domestic violence against her, but those allegations were withdrawn after the child support agreement was reached. Their relationship began in a happier way, and much of it was televised from the beginning. Indeed, the couple had a show of their own, a spinoff of the popular series "Keeping Up with the Kardashians", but Rob announced in November 2016 that Chyna had left him and taken Dream with her.

Texas denies over 14,000 registrations to noncustodial parents

The attorney general for Texas says that 14,779 vehicle registrations were denied to noncustodial parents since a new child support law went into effect in September 2016. The law allows the state to deny vehicle registration renewals to those who have gone six months or more without making a child support payment. Drivers are sent a letter 90 days before their registrations expire. It gives an explanation as to how they can get compliant with the law.

From there, drivers may take steps to take care of any issues related to past-due child support. If they are not taken care of within 90 days, an individual must work out a payment plan with the OAG. Once an arrangement has been made, the OAG will tell the DMV to lift the vehicle registration hold. In the last fiscal year, Texas collected over $4 billion in child support.

"Grey's Anatomy" actor reaches custody agreement

Texas television fans may be interested to learn that it has been reported that Jesse Williams, an actor who stars in "Grey's Anatomy", and his former wife have reached an agreement with regards to the custody of their children. According to reports, the two parents will share joint legal custody of their son and daughter. There was no mention of any physical custody arrangement.

News of their impending divorce became known in April 2017. Although the initial breakup appeared to be amicable, it appears that the divorce itself has not been, particularly when it comes to dealing with the child custody dispute. The soon-to-be ex-wife initially claimed that the children were "emotionally compromised" when in the care of their father due to his alleged violent temper. Williams responded that there was no truth to these statements.

Co-parenting under stress

Most divorced or separated parents in Texas work hard to maintain a positive relationship with the other parent of their child or children. Unfortunately, there are situations in which one parent is no longer acting in good faith and engages in toxic behavior. This behavior can make it difficult for the parents to work together to meet the needs of their children.

There are several things that a parent can do when trying to co-parent with someone who is actively hostile or who has a tendency to create drama with minimal provocation. The first is to maintain appropriate boundaries with the other parent. This means not engaging in conversation about trivial matters, especially those that do not involve the children directly.

Divorced parents and consistent household rules

Divorced Texas parents might struggle to establish consistent rules for their children as the children move between the parents' two households. However, establishing this consistency is important. It provides stability and structure for children at a time of uncertainty and upheaval. Parents should make an effort to sit down together and talk about how they can make their household rules more consistent. Children who are old enough may want to participate in this process as well. Before this meeting, parents might want to think about what points they are willing to compromise on and which ones they can be more flexible about.

There is help for parents who are unable to reach a compromise. Parenting classes might demonstrate to a parent who is reluctant to compromise that a lack of consistency can be harmful for children. These types of classes might also give parents an idea of parenting norms. Family law courts, therapists or attorneys may be able to recommend parenting classes. Another option is mediation. This involves parents working with a neutral person who can help them come to a compromise.

Sole custody prevents moms from entering workforce

Texas parents who are considering a divorce may be interested to learn that, in about 80 percent of child custody cases, custody of the children is still awarded to the mother. While mothers may be happy about this at first, it can potentially keep mothers trapped in the homemaker role and prevent them from finding a place in the workforce.

Part of the problem with this system is that it keeps mothers dependent on child support that is paid by the father. Mothers who cannot work may not have a backup plan if the father suddenly stops making child support payments or loses his job. This situation also often does not benefit the fathers as the time they get with their children is limited.

Ensuring that alimony payments are tax-deductible

A Texas couple that is going through a divorce or legal separation may have heard that the alimony is tax deductible. However, it is necessary that several conditions be in place for it to be so.

The alimony must be specifically mentioned in the divorce or separation agreement, and it must end on the recipient's death. The divorce agreement must not specify that the payment is something other than alimony. An example would be if it said that the payment would not be considered taxable income. The payment must be in cash or the equivalent of cash, and it must be made to the former spouse or on behalf of the former spouse. For example, the payment might go toward a mortgage obligation.

Ending the rights of a parent

Texas parents are entitled to certain rights with respect to their children and have certain obligations. However, there are situations in which a court will terminate parental rights, effectively ending the legal relationship between the child and the parent. This can occur when a parent commits a certain crime or when a father does not claim paternity. Parents are also able to voluntarily terminate or give up their parental rights.

In every state, there are laws that govern the involuntary termination of a parent's rights. These rights can be taken away if there is evidence of sexual abuse, abandonment, severe neglect or instances in which a parent has failed to keep in contact with or support a child. A state may also terminate parental rights if there has already been the involuntary termination of parental rights for another child, the parent has been incapacitated by drugs or alcohol for a long time or the parent suffers from some of a long-term mental deficiency.

Child support claims can be aided with DNA testing

Texas residents who are involved in a child support dispute may find that a DNA paternity test can help them to firmly establish parentage and resolve an ongoing conflict. Because DNA testing is close to 100 percent accurate, it can clearly determine whether or not a man is the father of the child in question. Even when matters like child support or custody have been heavily disputed, a paternity test can help to lead both parties toward a clear resolution.

When the father and mother of a child are not married at the time of conception or birth, there is no presumed father under law. The mother may name a father on the birth certificate but does not need to unless paternity has been legally determined. While the father of a child can affirm paternity without a DNA test with an official declaration, a paternity test can add extra security to the process. In a situation where paternity is more uncertain, a DNA test can also establish whether or not an alleged father is even an appropriate target in a child support dispute.

Impact of divorce on federal retirement

Federal employees are likely to have a Thrift Savings Plan, which replaces the common 401(k) used in the private sector. Like other retirement plans, a TSP can be affected by the asset division process of a Texas divorce. It is important for those considering a divorce to understand how the law may impact their money and finances.

Although the TSP is a federal retirement plan, asset division in a divorce is government by state laws. There are no overarching federal laws that impact what happens to a TSP in divorce. The TSP is impacted by a court order called a Retirement Benefits Court Order. These orders may be mandated by the court as part of the divorce process. This happens when the spouses cannot agree and the determination is made by the court. The order can also be included in a court-approved divorce agreement created by the spouses as part of their divorce negotiations.