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February 2015 Archives

How additional factors may affect Texas child support orders

Individuals going through child support cases in Texas often have questions about the amount they may expect to pay or receive. Texas does have child support guidelines in place that establish a presumptive amount based on the number of children and the payor's income. However, there are additional factors that may also affect the ultimate child support amount ordered. Additional factors may include medical expenses that are not covered by insurance or ones that are extraordinary.

Personal injury awards and Texas property division

People who are preparing to divorce in Texas and who have pending personal injury cases may want to carefully plan in order to best protect any expected settlements or awards. As a community property state, Texas generally presumes personal injury proceeds to be community property unless the spouse is able to show by clear and convincing evidence that the award is separate property.

The division of property in a divorce

Couples who are preparing to divorce often have questions regarding how they might expect their assets and obligations to be divided. As a community property state, Texas views all of the marital or community property of the couple to be jointly owned. The community property is thus in most cases subject to equal division between the two spouses.

How QDROs are drafted is important

In Texas and around the country, qualified domestic relations orders are used to divide up pension benefits. A QDRO is intended to provide for two different circumstances, each of which mandates the order be drafted in a different way in order to give it its intended effect.

The laws governing Texan custody arrangements

When courts command families to adhere to child custody arrangements, officials usually allow some leeway for minor discrepancies. For instance, most parents probably won't lose custody rights for things like failing to deliver a child to an agreed exchange on time if it only happens once or twice. Those who intentionally violate the terms of a judgment or order, however, can be prosecuted as a result.

Determining Texan child support obligations

Texan parents who receive child support payments from ex-spouses and others may be interested to know that their child support eligibility depends on numerous factors. Although child support generally ceases upon a child's 18th birthday or their graduation from high school, extenuating circumstances and personal living situations may extend an absent parent's responsibility to pay. For instance, the parents of children with special medical or mental care needs may continue receiving court-ordered payments.

Changing or contesting a Texas child support order

Many Texas families find that they need to seek changes to a child support order. A non-custodial parent may have to take a lower-paying job than they had when a family court judge first made the order, leaving them in need of lower child support payments. A child may begin attending a private school or experience another change that increases their living expenses. There is a variety of reasons why parents may seek a child support change.

Can a child ask a judge to live with one parent over the other?

Texas parents may wonder about how judges will weigh a child's preferences in a custody case, especially in view of the child's best interests. There may be situations in which best interests dictate that a child's preferences be ignored, especially if domestic violence or a parent's fitness are in question. Factors such as sibling relationships, family dynamics, community ties and educational needs may also play a role in the determination of custody. However, a child's wishes are a relevant concern to be addressed under Texas law. The age of a child is important in determining whether a request for a specific custodial decision may be made. A child who is at least 10 years old is permitted to issue a written request for residing with a specific parent.