texas family code

Shared Parenting With Texas Child Possession Orders

If only divorced parents could mutually agree on meaningful possession schedules while co-parenting their kids! But since many cannot or will not, the Texas Courts generally use a One-Size-Fits-All Standard Possession order for all children over three years of age.  The Texas Legislature over time has expanded the schedule to make access a little more flexible. Does this always squarely meet or suit the needs of a child and her/his relationship with both parents?

The Section 153.001 of the Texas Family Code is the State’s policy on possession schedules and its formation:

  1. Assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interests of their child;

  2. Provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child;

  3. Encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved the marriage.

The Texas Family Code, section 153.002 also states that “the best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship, possession of, and access of the child”. Because of this the Texas Courts are given wide range in determining a child’s best interest in possession schedules.

What about fair and equal Parent Possession Schedules? This is easier desired than accomplished! In E. Mavis Hetherington’s book, For Better or for Worse, Three types of co-parenting relationships are identified:

  1. Conflicted: Parents have frequent conflict, communicate badly, and have difficulty disengaging emotionally from the marriage (20-25%)

  2. Parallel: Parents who emotionally disengage from each other, with little communication and who usually do not coordinate child-related issues between themselves although conflict is minimal. (Over 50%)

  3. Cooperative: Parents who work together to actively plan their children’s lives and support each other. They work toward conflict free possession schedules in a nurturing parenting situation. (25%-30%)

Despite many separation and divorce related conflicts among parents, the main beneficial recipients of shared parenting are the children. When both parents are positively engaged in the parent-child relationship, probabilities are much higher for positive adjustment, better academic achievement and positive mental development of a child.

In Johnston & Campbell’s book, Impasses of Divorce, their findings support that the majority of parents substantially reduce their pre marital conflict within 2-3 years after divorce. Regrettably, 8%-20% of parents remain in a state of chronic high conflict!

How can Parents promote or enhance shared parenting in possession schedules?

Many parents will usually find a way or the mechanism to eventually work together for the benefit of the child, no matter how contentious the divorce. Even if shared parenting is not possible, parallel co-parenting reducing conflict may be acceptable. But if the parental conflict is high, try to use and enforce a possession schedule that limits parent contact during possession exchanges of the child and accordingly reduce conflict opportunity.

Parents: Leave your conflicts at home. You are divorced!  Concentrate on what is best for your child.  You are the lifetime primary example for your child on how families communicate.  Be mature and responsible and show your child that no matter what has occurred in the past, and regardless of fault, your joint goal is an emotionally healthy child over the long haul.

 

DETAIL

New Texas Laws Affecting Families – In Effect Beginning Sept. 1, 2013

Texas House Bill 845: Standard Possession Order

Amends Family Code provisions relating to standard Texas court orders for possession of a child in suits affecting the parent-child relationship. The bill specifies that written notice for purposes of such possession may now be provided by e-mail or facsimile. The bill provides additional alternative beginning and ending possession times under the standard possession schedule for Mother’s Day weekend and for Thursdays and weekends during the regular school term. The bill also repeals provisions relating to a petition by a conservator for additional periods of possession of or access to a child after the conclusion of the conservator’s military deployment.

Texas House Bill 847: Spousal Maintenance

Amends the Family Code to specify that the agreement for payment of maintenance that is enforceable by contempt is an agreement for periodic payments of Texas spousal maintenance and to prohibit the enforcement by contempt of any provision of an agreed order for maintenance exceeding the amount of periodic support a court could have ordered. The bill authorizes a court to order income withholding in a proceeding in which there is a court-approved agreement for periodic payments of spousal maintenance voluntarily entered into between the parties but prohibits such an order to the extent that any provision of the order exceeds the amount of periodic support the court could have ordered or for any period of maintenance beyond the period the court could have ordered. The bill also specifies that a division of property and any contractual provisions under the terms of a court-approved agreement incident to divorce or annulment are enforceable in the same manner as a division of property provided for in a decree of divorce or annulment. The bill updates relevant enforcement provisions to reflect this inclusion.

Texas House Bill 3017: VA Disability Benefits and Net Resources

Amends Family Code provisions relating to the calculation of net resources for the purpose of determining child support liability. The bill includes U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefits, other than non-service-connected disability pension benefits, among the types of income considered resources. The bill authorizes a court, in determining whether an obligor is intentionally unemployed or underemployed, to consider evidence that the obligor is a veteran who is seeking or has been awarded either veteran disability benefits or non-service-connected disability pension benefits. The bill also updates language regarding the wage and salary presumption used in the absence of evidence of a party’s resources.

Texas House Bill 847: Enforcement of a Child Support Order by Contempt

Amends Family Code provisions relating to motions to enforce a final order in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship. The bill establishes that a court, in hearing such a motion, is not precluded from awarding court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees to the movant upon finding that the respondent is not in contempt with regard to the underlying order. The bill repeals a provision prohibiting the court from finding a respondent in contempt for failure to pay child support under certain conditions and a provision authorizing the court to award the petitioner court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees in a Texas child support enforcement hearing under certain conditions.

Texas Senate Bill 129: Venue for a Protective Order Application:

Amends the Texas Family Code to expand the venue for filing an application for a protective order against family violence to include any county in which the family violence is alleged to have occurred.

By Nacol Law Firm | UPDATE! New Texas Laws
DETAIL
Sep
30

Texas Child Support Guidelines

Effective September 1, 2019 The Texas Child Support Division of the Attorney General increased the Maximum child Support under the Texas Child Support Guidelines from $8,550 to the “new cap”of net monthly resources to $9200 annually. This change in the law will increase the amount of maximum child support from of $1,710.00 to $1,840.00 monthly (20% of $9200. For one child)
Click Here to Read Updated Information

Under the Texas Family Code §154.125 the guidelines for child support are as follows:

(a) The guidelines for the support of a child in this section are specifically designed to apply to situations in which the obligor’s monthly net resources are not greater than $7,500 or the adjusted amount determined under Subsection (a-1), whichever is greater.

(a-1)  The dollar amount prescribed by Subsection (a) above is adjusted every six years as necessary to reflect inflation.  The Title IV-D agency shall compute the adjusted amount, to take effect beginning September 1 of the year of the adjustment, based on the percentage change in the consumer price index during the 72-month period preceding March 1 of the year of the adjustment, as rounded to the nearest $50 increment.  The Title IV-D agency shall publish the adjusted amount in the Texas Register before September 1 of the year in which the adjustment takes effect.  For purposes of this subsection, “consumer price index” has the meaning assigned by Section 341.201, Finance Code.

(a-2)  The initial adjustment required by Subsection (a-1) shall take effect September 1, 2013.  This subsection expires September 1, 2014.

(b)        if the obligor’s monthly net resources are not greater than the amount provided by Subsection (a), the court shall presumptively apply the following schedule in rendering the child support order:

CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES
BASED ON THE MONTHLY NET RESOURCES OF THE OBLIGOR 

1 child              20% of Obligor’s Net Resources
2 children          25% of Obligor’s Net Resources
3 children          30% of Obligor’s Net Resources
4 children          35% of Obligor’s Net Resources
5 children          40% of Obligor’s Net Resources
6+ children        Not less than the amount for 5 children

Depending on the number of other children an obligor has a duty to support, the percentage of child support may be lower.  For example, if the obligor was previously married and has 1 child to support in the previous marriage, the amount of support paid for one child before the court decreases to 17.50 percent.  See the chart below.

 

                          Multiple Family Adjusted Guidelines  (% of Net Resources)

                   Net Monthly Resources X Percentage Below
=
Monthly Child Support Obligation

 

 

 

Number
of other children
for whom
the obligor has a duty
of support

Number of Children Before the Court

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

0

20.00

25.00

30.00

35.00

40.00

40.00

40.00

1

17.50

22.50

27.38

32.20

37.33

37.71

38.00

2

16.00

20.63

25.20

30.33

35.43

36.00

36.44

3

14.75

19.00

24.00

29.00

34.00

34.67

35.20

4

13.60

18.33

23.14

28.00

32.89

33.60

34.18

5

13.33

17.86

22.50

27.22

32.00

32.73

33.33

6

13.14

17.50

22.00

26.60

31.27

32.00

32.62

7

13.00

17.22

21.60

26.09

30.67

31.38

32.00

 Net resources are determined by deducting the following from the obligor’s income:

  1. Social Security Taxes;
  2. Federal Income Tax based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one personal exemption and the standard deductions;
  3. State Income Tax;
  4. Union Dues (if such deductions are being withheld); and
  5. Expenses for Health Insurance Coverage for Obligor’s Child(ren) (if such deductions are being withheld).
By Nacol Law Firm | Child Support For Fathers
DETAIL

Rights and Duties of a Parent – Joint Managing Conservator in Texas

Rights and Duties of a Parent –  Joint Managing Conservator in Texas.
Waiver To the Guidelines is a Matter of Court Discretion

As a joint managing conservator of a child in a divorce proceeding in Texas, unless special circumstances arise justifying a variance from the Guidelines, the Court will normally order guideline code rights and duties and a parent will be awarded the following:

1.the right to receive information from any other conservator of the child concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child.

2.the right to confer with the other parent to the extent possible before making a decision concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child.

3.the right of access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child.

4.the right to consult with a physician, dentist, or psychologist of the child.

5.the right to consult with school officials concerning the child’s welfare and educational status, including school activities.

6.the right to attend school activities.

7.the right to be designated on the child’s records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency.

8.the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child.

9.the right to manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by the parent/conservator or the parent/conservator’s family.

10.the duty to inform the other conservator of the child in a timely manner of significant information concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child; and

11.the duty to inform the other conservator of the child if the conservator resides with for at least thirty days, marries, or intends to marry a person who the conservator knows is registered as a sex offender under chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure or is currently charged with an offense for which on conviction the person would be required to register under that chapter.  IT IS ORDERED that this information shall be tendered in the form of a notice made as soon as practicable, but not later than the fortieth day after the date the conservator of the child begins to reside with the person or on the tenth day after the date the marriage occurs, as appropriate.  IT IS ORDERED that the notice must include a description of the offense that is the basis of the person’s requirement to register as a sex offender or of the offense with which the person is charged.  WARNING:  A CONSERVATOR COMMITS AN OFFENSE PUNISHABLE AS A CLASS C MISDEMEANOR IF THE CONSERVATOR FAILS TO PROVIDE THIS NOTICE.

12.the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child.

13.the duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, and medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure.

14.the right to consent for the child to medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure.

15.the right to direct the moral and religious training of the child.

16.Only one parent shall have the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of child in a specific geographical area, which is commonly the county in which the child currently resides and the contiguous counties thereto.

17.the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right;

18.the right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment of the child may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right;

19.Only one parent shall have the exclusive right to receive and give receipt for periodic payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse these funds for the benefit of the child;

20.the right to represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right;

21.the right to consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right;

22.the right to make decisions concerning the child’s education may be subject to agreement, an independent right a joint right or an exclusive right;

23.except as provided by section 264.0111 of the Texas Family Code, the right to the services and earnings of the child may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right;

24.except when a guardian of the child’s estate or a guardian or attorney ad litem has been appointed for the child, the right to act as an agent of the child in relation to the child’s estate if the child’s action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right; and

25.the right to manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by community property or the joint property of the parent/conservator may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right.

In accordance with section 153.001 of the Texas Family Code, it is the public policy of Texas to assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child, to provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child, and to encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.  The Court will therefore normally establish the primary residence of the child in the county where the child currently resides and/or a contiguous county thereto, and the parties shall not remove the child from such county for the purpose of changing the primary residence of child until there is a modification to the existing order of the court of continuing jurisdiction or a written agreement signed by the parties and filed with the court.

The geographical restriction on the residence of the child may be lifted or modified if, at the time the primary parent with the right to establish residence wishes to remove the child from the county for the purpose of changing the primary residence of the child, the other parent does not reside in that county or a contiguous county thereto.

Time constraints, employment issues of the primary Joint Managing Conservator, and other material factors may come into play when a Joint Managing Conservator requests waiver of the geographical restrictions.  It customarily is a very difficult, but not always insurmountable, burden to achieve a geographical restriction waiver.  The success, consistency and regularity of the non-primary conservator’s possession and access to the child is a factor the court will view in making a ruling.  Frequently, an agreement to adjust the amount of support and/or transportation costs comes into play in resolving such disputes.

By Nacol Law Firm | Child Custody . Possession of Children
DETAIL

Please contact father’s rights Dallas Attorney Mark Nacol, or father’s rights Dallas Attorney Julian Nacol with the Nacol Law Firm P.C., for legal insight to your rights as a father. Both attorney Mark Nacol, and attorney Julian Nacol , provide counsel in the area of family law including divorce, father’s rights, interstate jurisdiction, child support, child custody, visitation, paternity, parent alienation, modifications, property division, asset division and more. Attorney Mark A. Nacol is board certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Our attorneys at The Nacol Law Firm P.C. serve clients throughout Texas, including Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties and the communities of Addison, Allen, Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Grapevine, Highland Park, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Prosper, Richardson, Rowlett and University Park, Murphy,Wylie, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Irving, along with surrounding DFW areas.

TOP