Copyright © Elaine Michael Attorney. All rights reserved.
A Friendly Child Custody and Support Attorney that Protects Your Rights to Visit and Help Raise Your Children
Helping parents, stepparents and grandparents from your community with child custody, support, visitation and relocation issues
Texas courts operate on the presumption that parents have equal rights and responsibilities regarding their children, but that in divorce a child is best served by making one parent responsible for providing the child with the primary residence and eligible to receive child support from the other parent. This provides stability for the child and is considered by the courts to be in the best interests of the child.
Family law firm Elaine S. Michael Attorney at Law assists you in making your arguments for legal and physical custody. While joint managing conservatorship is presumed to be in the best interest of the child, there are times that the court may find that the best interest of the child is served by awarding sole managing conservatorship. If awarded sole managing conservatorship, you would be the parent with exclusive rights and duties relating to the child. Elaine Michael is experienced in child custody and provides guidance through this process. Since family law judges have great discretion in family law, an experienced lawyer who has knowledge of the courts and judges is an absolute necessity when it comes to fighting for your parental rights and the best interests of the children.
How is child custody determined?
The court considers all relevant factors when determining the child's best interests in divorce, including:
The wishes and physical and mental health of each parent
The wishes of the child if they are 12 or older
The physical and mental health of the child
The history of the child's care, including which parent has acted as the child's primary caregiver
The nature of the relationships between the child and each parent
The fitness of each parent to properly care for the child
The suitability of the parents' respective homes
The child's relationships to their home, school, church and community
Whether the child has any siblings
Evidence of domestic violence, abuse, neglect or other issues that could harm the child
Whether a parent has attempted to conceal the child from the other parent
The likeliness of each parent to help foster a relationship between the child and the other parent
The court also considers custody petitions from people other than the parents. Attorney Elaine Michael has successfully argued several cases petitioning custody for grandparents. Although the courts always prefer a parent and zealously protect a parent’s rights, there are circumstances where the court will determine that it is in the child's best interests that a grandparent should be appointed their conservator.
What are standard visitation rights?
The standard Texas visitation order gives the parent with visitation rights:
Possession on the first, third and fifth weekends of every month, beginning 6 p.m. on Friday and ending 6 p.m. on Sunday
During the school year, possession every Thursday from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Possession for the entire spring break vacation in even years
Possession for 30 days of the child’s summer vacation
In general, the state’s annual holiday schedule supersedes the possession and access schedule. Parents generally alternate the various holidays in even and odd years, but the parent not regularly scheduled for access on the child's birthday can have the child from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. on that day. Also, on weekends extended by a school holiday, possession is extended by the time that school is out. The visiting parent may elect an expanded possession order that broadens the Standard Possession Order to include overnights on Thursday and Sunday.
Child support follows a formula, but there are negotiable points
The court usually awards child support to the parent who is appointed primary custodian. A formula is used to determine how much a parent will pay for child support. Essentially, a percentage is applied against the support provider's net income after things like Social Security taxes, federal income tax, union dues and child health insurance are deducted. A new spouse's income is not considered when setting child support.
The percentage of your income applied for child support varies according to the number of children you have. You can expect to pay child support of 20 percent of your net income for the support of one child, 25 percent for the support of two, 30 percent for three, 35 percent for four and 40 percent for five or more children. This amount varies if you have children who are not before the court but for whom you are legally obligated to provide support.
The noncustodial parent can expect to pay child support until the child is emancipated or a court order, or turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. Child support may continue indefinitely if the child is disabled.
What happens if support payments aren’t paid, or if either spouse’s economic circumstances change?
The quick answer is that child support orders, like custody orders, can be enforced and modified. If the other parent shirks duties assigned by the divorce decree or a subsequent order, we petition the court on your behalf for enforcement by contempt. Also, if either parent’s economic circumstances change, we petition the court to amend the child support order.
We firmly represent your position in child custody, visitation and support matters - Call Today at 281-993-0700