Getting a divorce is complicated under any circumstances. However, getting a divorce in Texas with kids can be extra stressful.
Not only are you feeling complex emotions about your relationship and worried about finances, but you want to make sure that you do what is best for your children.
Here, we will discuss some of the things you need to know when getting a divorce in Texas with children.
How Do I File for Divorce If I Have Kids?
If you are googling, “how to file for divorce in Texas with children,” there are a few things that you should be aware of. The initial process for filing for divorce is still approximately the same whether or not you have kids. One spouse must file the original petition for divorce. This spouse becomes the petitioner and the other spouse becomes the respondent spouse.
A potential complication can arise in a divorce in Texas with a child if the child does not live in Texas. If the child has not lived in Texas for the last six months or the child was born in Texas but has been gone for more than six months, Texas is no longer the child’s “home state” under the UCCJEA, a federal law.
Therefore, a Texas court will likely not make custody and visitation decisions about the child. You may have to obtain a custody determination from a court in the jurisdiction where your child lives. This can get complicated, and it can be a good idea to talk to a family law attorney.
Another thing to be aware of in a divorce with children in Texas is that it may be more expensive. You may have to file additional forms that come with extra filing fees. In addition, issues like child support and custody tend to be highly contested. Contested issues in a divorce can significantly increase the cost.
Who Will Get Custody of the Kids?
In many divorce proceedings, a child’s parents are free to agree on any custody arrangement that they prefer. If you and your spouse agree on custody, you can choose where your child will live and when and how often they will see the noncustodial parent. However, parents frequently disagree about the details of their custody arrangement.
When custody is contested, both sides may try to come to an agreement through processes such as mediation. If you are trying to reach an agreement with your spouse about custody, you should hire an attorney to help you negotiate. A child custody attorney with strong knowledge of Texas family law will be able to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your child.
Sometimes, parties filing for divorce in Texas with children are unable to come to an agreement about child custody. In these situations, the court will decide how custody will be divided.
Texas courts try to award joint custody when possible. Joint custody means that the child spends some time with each parent. Although courts favor these arrangements, if one parent is abusive or neglectful, the court can award sole custody to the other parent.
What About Child Support?
Child support is another commonly contested issue in a Texas divorce with children. Child support is calculated using Texas child support guidelines. Parties can agree to a child support amount in excess of that required by the guidelines. Parties can also agree to less than guidelines child support.
The amount of child support depends on the noncustodial parent’s net resources and the number of children. Although the amount of support is set, disputes can arise regarding the amount of a parent’s net income.
If the parents dispute this amount, then the court may need to make findings and calculate child support. The court can consider certain assets as income and also impute income to someone who is unemployed or underemployed.
Should I Hire a Lawyer?
You should always talk to an attorney if there are contested issues in your divorce regarding child custody and support. This is especially true if your co-parent has hired an attorney.
Family law is complicated, and no two situations are exactly alike. If you do not have an in-depth knowledge of the law, it can be easy to end up in a situation where you are not satisfied with the results of your divorce. Most importantly, a good attorney will advocate for the arrangement that is most beneficial to your child.
Call Us Today
The experienced divorce lawyers at The Larson Law Office are ready to answer your questions about divorce in Texas with kids. We are a husband and wife team with years of experience handling all different types of family law matters. If you call our office, you can rest assured that your divorce case is in capable and compassionate hands.