You understood that you fulfilled an obligation to yourself in your country when you signed up to join the military. Military service is one of the most selfless and generous things that a person can do in their life when selecting an occupation. Not only is military service difficult, but it can be among the most rewarding career fields that you can choose from. We know that not only can the military provide a challenging career but also one that can be difficult for your emotional and physical health. From there, we can surmise that you would not be serving your country if you did not fully believe in the mission and we’re fully committed to take on the responsibilities of serving your country.
Among the times in a soldier’s life where the challenges of military life can be a most acute win, you are living overseas on deployment. We can see that these times are challenging from the perspective of being away from the support system that you have come to appreciate here in the United States and that you are away from your family for an extended period. While different deployments last different periods, the general thought is that being deployed means that you are away from your family for at least six months of a time. If you have gone through a difficult family law case before then, you can understand how long six months is at a time.
Having a custody order yet being deployed to another part of the world can seem like a difficult contradiction as well. While do you have a right to be able to have your children need to visit with them if you are not their primary conservator, the reality of your situation is that your time is not fully your own in that you may not always be able to take advantage of the time that you have with your kids. Therefore, you need to be sure that the time you have been provided with your children are opportunities that you can take advantage of or, at the very least, designate to other people whom you trust to take advantage of while you are deployed.
How to handle child support while you have your children during the extended summer months?
If you are not the primary Conservatory of your children, you likely pay child support. The specific percentages of your net monthly income that will go towards child support are typically based on how many children you have before the court. As such, the more children you have, the higher percentage of your net monthly income that you may be ended up obligated to pay in child support each month. As a result, most family court orders specify how much support is obligated to be paid each month.
However, what can be done when you have your children for extended periods each summer? Many families who do not follow a traditional standard possession order allow the nonprimary parent to have longer than typical periods of possession each summer. The summertime may allow for you to be at home more or at the very least not seeing the kind of daily responsibilities that you have during the school year months. This summer may allow you to have your kids for uninterrupted periods that last more than a month. If this is the case, you may have questions about The Child Support you pay to your Co-parent. For instance, should you still be paying child support to your Co-parent each month even if you have your child for a month or more at a time?
It may be wise to negotiate with your Co-parent to reduce child support costs during the months of the year where your child is with you in your home. For instance, you can consider that certain costs associated with your Co-parent when raising the child Jenn are greatly reduced when the kids are not with them. Things like food, clothing, and entertainment can be reduced to zero for the children when they are not actually with their Co-parent. In contrast, other factors like the rooms in the home that must be heated or cool during the summer cannot be reduced just because the children are not with your Co-parent that does not mean that some costs cannot be taken out of consideration when they are with you in the summertime.
This may put you in a good position to reduce the Child Support you paid during July in August, for example, by 50%. There are two ways to see to it that you are paid this money. First, you can work it into the Child Support order from your custody or divorce case. You can negotiate and have the July and August child support payments B less than the other months of the year, given that the children will be with you during these months for the foreseeable future. However, this may complicate things somewhat if it is by wage withholding order that your child support is taken out of your check each month. There is no telling exactly how the money will be taken out of your check under this order. Anyone can guess whether or not the correct amount will be removed each summer or if the same amount will be taken out of your paycheck every month.
As such, you may prefer to have your co-parent reimburse you those costs every September. In other words, it may be easier to have your Co-parent hold back the money and pay you directly rather than to rely upon the attorney general or your employer to be able to follow through on the specific terms of your court order. You can check with your family law attorney to determine what their experience in preference is. It would strike me that your best bet is to be reimbursed by your Co-parent as you would be if you paid some uninsured medical costs out of your pocket rather than waiting for them to pay you your share.
Does no visitation necessarily mean no child support?
One of the most frustrating things when it comes to child custody is having visitation denied. The visitation denial can occur for several reasons. Some parents do not want to allow their children to enjoy time with the other parent. Other times, you may have your visitation denied because you have not paid child support. Whatever the particular circumstances uppercase are, you should be mindful that there is nothing you can do, short of things like abuse or neglect of your children, that can justify your Co-parent withholding visitation or possession.
This brings us to the question that I wanted to discuss: should you withhold child support if your Co-parent is also withholding visitation? This is an age-old question in the world of Texas child custody and one that many parents have pondered over the years after all: why should you be paying money to support your co-parent when they do not even allow you to see your children? He reasoned that you would be paying child support towards kids you don’t get to see and in support of a person who purposely violates a court order. There is something intrinsically unfair about this whole setup that, for many parents, may prevent you from following through with Your responsibility to pay child support.
In Texas family law courts, child support and visitation are rarely linked. You cannot seek to enforce your visitation rights by withholding child support. By the same token, your Co-parent could not withhold visitation to enforce child support. Simply because you are not paying child support does not give your Co-parent cause to withhold visitation. The correct route for either you or your Co-parent to go in this instance would be to file for and enforce the court order and seek a hearing in front of the judge. You can then allow the judge to entertain arguments regarding why the punishment of some sort is or is not reasonable based on the circumstances of your case.
Do military parents have a shot at gaining primary custody of children?
In child custody, it is often fathers who feel like the law favors mothers inordinately regarding issues regarding custody. I’ve had many fathers come to me and ask whether or not it is best to accept whatever their Co-parent is requesting as far as custody is concerned. After all, these men will confide to me; it’s not as if a family court judge could see facts in their favor versus their child’s mother. It would be better to take the deal offered by their child’s mother and go about their lives. While I cannot blame some of these men and fathers for feeling defeated, it is not my experience that family court judges support men over women or vice versa.
More often than not, women positioned themselves better before a family law case even starts in terms of being able to be awarded primary custody. For instance, men are more likely to be outside of the home more often earning an income for their family versus raising children. Does that mean that as a father, you have no experience in raising your kids? However, what it does mean is that your Co-parent is slightly better positioned because they have taken on the lion’s share of responsibility when it comes to raising the kids. This was unnecessary to put you in a bad position for a family law case, but that may have ended up being the natural end game.
Military members face similar challenges of their own when it comes to custody considerations. The simple reality is that you may have work obligations that extend beyond the normal time commitments of a nine to five job. Additionally, we are already discussing how you may be living outside your home state or even outside of the country. In these types of circumstances, there needs to be a great deal of flexibility when it comes to your court order. We see this when it comes to people who have jobs that add upstate or require a great deal of travel. Atypical first, 3rd, and 5th weekends of each month possession schedule does not work for these families. It likely would not work for your military family, either.
Let’s walk through some of the circumstances that may be working against you when it comes to obtaining primary custody of your kids in a Texas family law case. As a member of the military who was out on deployment, you have a regular childcare schedule based on your weekend or night duty work activities. Again, you didn’t necessarily choose these schedules, but you have very little say over the work activities assigned to you when you are in the military. You go where you are told and make the best of the short-and long-term circumstances. This does not make planning possession and visitation schedules for your child easy, but that is not the primary concern of your military superiors.
Another factor that you need to consider when asking for primary custody of your children as a military member is that the plans associated with working and your work responsibilities can change seemingly at the drop of a hat. With that said, even though you may have a work schedule that jives well with that of your children, a family court judge and undoubtedly your Co-parent understand that this can change in a relatively quick fashion. So, even if you have work to gain a schedule that works with your child and their schedule, that does not necessarily mean that you will be able to lean on that schedule for an extended time moving forward.
On the other hand, if you are stationed somewhere for a set period on an immovable project, this may be a factor in favor of your gaining full custody of the children. However, it would help if you also considered that the Houston area does not have any military installations within 50 miles of our city. There are some in other parts of the state, but they are at least a few hour’s drive from Houston. Therefore, you would also need to make moving your children part of the process of you gaining primary custody of them.
Additionally, your responsibility to provide for your children’s education is also very important at this stage. For example, what are your on-base school or local school district ratings to where you would be stationed? If your Co-parents school district is far superior to that of the one close to where you are based out of them, this could be a major factor when determining who will be named as primary conservator of your children. I do not think it would be among the most important, but it certainly could be used as a tiebreaker if the decision is a closed-form between you and your Co-parent to be primary conservator of the kids.
Another factor that I think could play into determining who is named the primary conservator of your children is what opportunities your work offers to allow for cultural trips and visits to other countries. Not every military member has a job where you can set off with your children to visit places during the summers or even in conjunction with being in the military school. I know that enrichment like this is by far more the exception than the norm. However, it would help if you looked to use every advantage you have when trying to gain primary custody as a military member. Different opportunities like this could set you apart from your Co-parent and make a compelling case to a family court judge.
As a military member, you have many factors to consider when asking for a primary city ’cause it has your children. It is not an easy thing to be named the primary conservator of the kids when you were in the military. However, you may be able to line up your circumstances in such a way that you gave yourself a good chance depending upon the case you produce for a judge and the attorney you select to present that case.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.