Waxahachie Child Support and Custody Information

Provided by a Qualified Waxahachie Family Lawyer

Your children are the most important people in your life, and you would do anything to protect them. At Loucks & Drew, P.L.L.C., we understand the angst that family problems can cause, especially when it comes to your children. We will do whatever we can to ensure that your children are provided for and that you are able to maintain the best relationship possible with your child.

We can be very understanding of your circumstances, but we are also very strong advocates during the divorce settlement process. We will make sure that both your rights and the rights of your children are protected no matter what. We have experience in a wide variety of child support and child custody issues, including the following:

  • Conservatorship
  • Possession
  • Sole custody
  • Joint custody
  • Access rights
  • Standard visitation arrangements
  • Supervised and restricted visitation orders
  • Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJEA)
  • Child Protective Services (CPS)
  • Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
  • Enforcement and modification of child custody, child support and visitation orders

We are also available to assist you with other family law issues, including divorce and prenuptial agreements, adoption, emergency orders, and family law litigation. If you have any questions about the process of determining child support and child custody, a Waxahachie child support attorney at Loucks & Drew, P.L.L.C., is available to help you.

Texas Child Support Guidelines

Under Texas law, each parent has a legal obligation to provide for his or her children. The parent responsible for paying child support (typically the non-custodial parent) must pay the other parent based upon the following percentages:

  • One child: 20 percent of the obligor parent's net resources
  • Two children: 25 percent of the obligor's net resources
  • Three children: 30 percent of the obligor's net resources
  • Four children: 35 percent of the obligor's net resources
  • Five children: 40 percent of the obligor's net resources
  • More than five children: a minimum of 40 percent of the obligor's net resources

These guidelines are applied to situations in which the obligor parent has $7,500 or less in net resources each month. In instances in which the obligor's monthly net resources exceeds $7,500, the court must apply the above percentages to the first $7,500 of net resources and may then order support above that amount. These amounts may, however, be reduced if the obligor parent also has children from another parent.

Child support payments for each child will typically continue until that child reaches the age of 18 or until the child graduates from high school (whichever is later). If the child is disabled, child support may continue indefinitely. While there is no statutory requirement that the obligor parent provide for a child's college education, many contractual support agreements include a provision for the payment of college expenses.

Negotiating Favorable Child Custody Arrangements

When making child custody determination, there are two main considerations: possession and conservatorship. Possession simply refers to the parent who has the right to physical custody of the child. There are two basic options when making a determination as to possession:

  • Sole custody
  • Joint custody

Even if sole custody is granted, the non-custodial parent has access rights, which include the right to establish a visitation schedule.

Conservatorship refers to the person who has the legal rights, powers, duties and responsibilities of parents. Such rights, powers, duties and responsibilities may include the following:

  • Power to discipline the child
  • Access to medical records and the power to make medical decisions on behalf of the child
  • Ability to make decisions regarding the child's education and religious upbringing

When determining parental rights, Texas courts look to the best interests of the child. Under Texas law, it is assumed that it is in the best interests of the child for the parents to have a joint managing conservatorship, meaning that both parents share most of the parental rights. If the court orders a joint managing conservatorship, one parent will still be appointed the primary managing conservator. This is the parent who has primary physical custody of the child and will determine where the child will live. If the court determines that it is in the best interests of the child to order a sole managing conservatorship, that parent is typically granted sole physical custody. The other parent is granted visitation rights.

Protecting Your Visitation Rights

If the court orders sole custody of a child, the non-custodial parent has the right to visit the child. The Texas Family Code provides a standard visitation schedule for children older than three years old whose non-custodial parents live within 100 miles of the child. A standard visitation schedule includes at least two weekends a month, two hours every Thursday during the school year and 30 days during the summer. Holidays are often typically split evenly between the two parents.

In certain circumstances, the court may determine that it is not in the best interests of the child to have a standard visitation. In such cases, the non-custodial parent will still usually be entitled to supervised or restricted visitation.

Enforcing and Modifying Child Support and Child Custody Arrangements

If a child support or child custody order has been entered but your circumstances have changed or if the other parent is failing to comply with the agreement, you can modify or enforce the agreement. However, the process is complex, and you may need the assistance of an experienced Waxahachie child support lawyer who understands the modification and enforcement process.

If you would like to modify a child support or child custody order, you can petition the court and request that a change be made. Modifications of child support or custody orders are typically made for the following reasons:

  • One of the parents is moving out of the state
  • The income of one of the parents changes significantly
  • The financial needs of a child changes
  • Remarriage of one of the parents

If the other parent fails to comply with the child support and child custody orders, you should seek enforcement of the court order. It is important to remember that the Court not the parent is responsible for enforcement of child support and child custody orders. If the other parent refuses to make child support payments, you cannot refuse to let the parent see the child and vice versa. To ensure that both parents comply with all child support and child custody orders, a court may enter sanctions on the party who fails to comply. Such sanctions may include jail time, garnishment of wages and other civil and criminal penalties.

Family Attorneys Helping Families in the Waxahachie Area

Our attorneys are friendly and willing to help those families in the Waxahachie area who are struggling with family law issues. We come from strong family backgrounds and understand how difficult it can be to deal with changes in your family, especially when it involves your children. We will do whatever we can to ensure that your children receive the best custody and support arrangements possible. Contact a Waxahachie child custody lawyer at Loucks & Drew, P.L.L.C., today to discuss your child support and child custody issues.