If you and your spouse have marital issues but have children together, you might try to stay together for the kids. In many cases, this can lead to added stress, and these marriages might end in divorce anyway. Divorcing with children can increase the complexity of a divorce case because you will need to decide issues of child support and custody in addition to the issues you will have to face in any divorce case, such as asset division and spousal support.
If you are seeking a divorce in Houston and you have shared children in the marriage, contact The Queenan Law Firm today. Our Houston lawyer for divorce with children might be able to represent you, fight to help you keep whatever assets and the property you need, and work to help you keep custody and visitation rights. For a confidential legal consultation, call our attorneys today at (817) 476-1797.
Getting a Divorce in Houston with Shared Children
When getting a divorce, the court will need to make sure that certain elements are handled. In every divorce case, this usually means handling issues of asset division and spousal support. If the divorce is based on fault grounds, you will also need to resolve the accusations and fight for the divorce in the first place. If you have children, this usually adds a few important parts to your case.
If your spouse is the other parent to your children, you both have equal rights to be involved in your children’s lives and equal responsibilities to care for them. This means that two of the biggest issues in a divorce case with shared children will be child custody and child support.
Getting a Divorce in Houston with Children from a Previous Relationship
If you have children, but they are not shared with your spouse, you might be able to avoid many of these issues. If you are a widow or widower, then your current spouse might not be a legal guardian or adoptive parent at all. This usually means that you will have full custody and you will not be entitled to child support payments after this divorce, allowing these steps to be essentially skipped in your divorce case. If your children are shared with another person and you already have a custody and support order in place, this divorce might not affect those orders either. Talk to a lawyer about how children from a previous relationship will affect your divorce case.
Child Custody (Conservatorship) in Houston Divorce Cases
Whenever two parents live separately, the court can decide child custody issues. This means that if you and your spouse are seeking separation before you get divorced, you might actually be able to get a preliminary child custody order at that time and then revise it as the divorce case proceeds.
In Texas, child custody is called a “conservatorship” even though people commonly use the term “custody.” Under this system, “joint custody” is called a “joint managing conservatorship,” and “sole custody” is called a “sole managing conservatorship.” In a joint custody case, both parents have legal custody, and they share decisions about medical care, religion, how to raise the child, what school they will go to, and other important things in the child’s life. If you have a sole managing conservatorship or sole custody, this means you are the only parent who gets to make these kinds of decisions.
In addition to custody/conservatorship decisions, courts can also decide which parents get possession and access rights or visitation. If you have a sole managing conservatorship, the other parent might still get visitation rights so that they can spend time with the shared children. If you have a joint managing conservatorship, the court might divide parenting time by allowing each parent to have possession of the children.
“Possession” usually refers to property, but in this case, it means having the children with you in your house. Parenting time splits can be arranged to allow one parent to have the kids during the week and the other parent to have alternating weekends, or it can be a more 50/50 split. Visitation is usually far from an equal split and gives one parent primary custody and the other parent occasional visitation rights, such as on holidays or weekends.
If you and your spouse are still living in the same house while the divorce is resolved, you will still need to have child custody issues resolved before you move apart at the end of your divorce case.
Child Support in Houston Divorce Cases
If parents live separately during or after a divorce, the court will also need to assign child support responsibilities for parents. Each parent is expected to contribute to raising their children, even if they do not have full or equal custody rights. This means that even in sole conservatorship cases, the parent who does not have custody might still be required to make child support payments.
When you have a child in your custody at your home, there is no need to pay support for the time they spend with you. Instead, the money you have goes straight toward supporting your child. This usually means that the parent with more parenting time is the one who gets the payments and the parent who has less direct parenting time pays their share of support for the times when their child is away from them.
Support costs are allocated based on each parent’s ability to pay, the parenting time split, and how many other children they need to support – whether those children are also shared or are from other relationships. Talk to a lawyer about how much child support you might expect to pay or receive in your divorce case.
Call Our Houston Divorce Lawyers for Divorces Involving Children
Going through a divorce while trying to insulate your children from the arguments and issues can be difficult. Our Houston lawyers for divorces with children can help you fight to keep custody and get child support decisions you need. For help managing the aspects of your divorce case that deal with your children – as well as the rest of the aspects of your Houston divorce case – call The Queenan Law Firm today to set up a legal consultation. Our number is (817) 476-1797.