included even in an agreed or uncontested divorce decree. Texas is a community property state and this raises issues that many spouses do not fully understand. Many clients believe that since they did not sign the paperwork to finance or purchase something like their car, that they then have no need to worry about the car in a divorce decree. This is not the case - if the car was purchased while you were married then the car should be dealt with in the divorce decree. This is just one example of the many mistakes made when attempting self-representation, whether Uncontested or Contested. Divison of not only your property but also your debts is key when seeking a divorce. Did you know that you could be eligible for "spousal maintenance" ? Did you know that you might qualify to receive a portion of your spouse's retirement? There are many components to a divorce and seeking legal assistance will ensure that you obtain a divorce that is in your best interest.
In Texas, a divorce can be filed on the grounds of "no-fault" or "fault". In a no-fault divorce you can file because you and your spouse "just do not get along anymore", this is called "Insupportability or Irreconcilable Differences" in the State of Texas. A divorce based on fault would be for reasons such as "cruelty", "adultery", "conviction of felony", "abandonment", "confinement in a mental hospital", and "living apart for at least 3 years". A divorce alleging one of these reasons must be proven with credible evidence.
In order to file a divorce in Texas, one of the spouses must have been living in the State of Texas for at least six (6) months before the divorce is filed, and at least one of the spouses must have lived in the county where the divorce is filed for at least ninety (90) days prior to filing the divorce.
A divorce in Texas can be granted as soon as 60 days after the filing of the Divorce suit, assuming the parties agree. If the case has to go to trial, a typical time frame is 9 months, but a highly contested case can take several years.
There are so many aspects of a divorce, that cannot possibly be covered through this website. If you have questions about your particular situation you should submit the "Tell Me About Your Legal Issue" form or call (972) 584-9176, if immediate assistance is needed.
weigh what is in the best interests of the child. Under the heading of "conservatorship" there is "joint managing conservatorship" which provides for both parents being involved in and making decisions regarding the child. Even though this is called joint managing conservatorship, one parent is usually designated the parent with whom the child will live. Under "sole managing conservatorship" one parent is designated as the parent with whom the child will live and this parent typically has the right to make all decisions regarding the child's welfare. The other parent would be designated as a "possessory conservator" and typically only has visitation rights.
Texas law allows for what is called a "Standard Possession Order" (SPO). A Standard Possession Order, normally contains provisions for the parent with whom the child does not live to have visitation on the 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends of the month and a visit during the week for about 2 hours. A SPO usually provides for visitation to start on Fridays at 6:00 P.M. and ending on Sundays at 6:00 P.M. Typically holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas are rotated between the parents as odd and even years. Sometimes theses holidays are split with both parents receiving some time with the child over the holidays. Father's Day and Mother's Day are always reserved for visitation by either the Father or Mother, even if that parent would not otherwise be entitled to visitation on those days.
Parents are free to establish and agree upon terms and conditions of visitation that do not conform to a SPO, but the Court still has the final say as to whether any such agreement is in the best interests of the child.
A SPO can be modified if the parent requesting the modification can demonstrate to the Court that they have experienced a change in their circumstances since the Divorce Decree or SPO was entered that creates an inability for that parent to comply with the prior orders. A typically example of a change of circumstances that might result in the filing of a modification request would be where one spouse's employment changes and requires that parent to relocate, which would interfere with the other parent's visitation rights. The parent requesting the modification bears the burden of proving to the Court that the modification is in the best interest of the child.
A parent cannot withhold visitation for failure of the other parent to pay their required child support. Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of a Divorce Decree or SPO in a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship can result in enforcement actions being taken, with possible contempt of court sanctions and arrest.
If you believe your rights are being violated by the other parent you should seek the advice of an attorney.
Child support in Texas is set by Child Support Guidelines, which set child support for 1 child as 20% of net income, 25% for 2 children and 30% for 3 children. If a parent is unemployed at the time a child support order is set by a Court, it is possible that the child support would be set based on federal minimum wage using a 40 hour workweek.
The Court in setting child support can consider other factors such as the child or children ages and needs, the ability of both parents to financially support the child or children, any other financial resources available to support the child or children, the amount of time spent with the child or children by each parent, the amount of access each parent has to the child or children, the cost of child care expenses incurred by either parent in order to maintain their employment. The Court can also consider whether and how much spousal maintenance either spouse maybe receiving and whether either parent has physical custody of another child.
Failure to pay your child support is not grounds for the other parent to withhold visitation, however failure to pay child support can result in harsh penalties as well as arrest.
A modification of the ordered child support can be sought if one of the parent's circumstances have changed since either the Divorce was rendered or an Order in Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship was entered.
No matter if a Divorce or a SAPCR, the Court's overriding concern will be what is in the best interest of the child or children.
Typically parents that agree to a fifty/fifty living arrangement for the child or children, can agree that neither parent will pay child support. In addition to actual child support dollars, the Court will also enter orders regarding which parent is required to obtain and pay for the child or childrens' health insurance and make orders regarding out-pocket medical costs to be paid or incurred by the parents.
If a parent is ordered to pay child support, child support is required to be paid until the child turns 18 years of age or graduates from high school, whichever occurs last.
In a situation where you are not sure of your obligations as a parent or not sure that the child the subject of court ordered child support may not be your biological child, you do have the right to contest your "paternity", however there are time limits on how long you have to contest your paternity, therefore, you should consult an attorney immediately.
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