Frequently Asked Questions
In Texas, these terms are used to describe decision making rights over the children. Joint Managing Conservators typically discuss and try to reach agreements about medical, dental, and school related concerns. Sole Managing Conservatorship implies that one parent has a track record of not being trustworthy or other behavior that make the Judge not trust their judgment for these types of decisions. A parent without the right to give direction to doctors, dentists, counselors, or teachers (possessory conservator) will still have the right to talk to these important professions and ask questions about the child’s care and development. It is very difficult to truly lock a parent out of a child’s life completely.
In Texas, there is a mandatory 60 day waiting period from the day you file the initial petition at the courthouse to the time you can get the final divorce signed by the Judge or a hearing held on the final divorce. Typically even agreed cases take a little longer than the 60 days waiting period. Most contested cased take 6 – 12 months to fully resolve, depending on the particulars of your individual case.
Cost depend on what steps are needed in your case and if any complications arise during the course of the case. Set fees are available for most cases or hourly retainers for more tailored needs.
In Texas, the legislature has adopted a Standard Visitation schedule. Texas Family Code Sec. 153.312 outlines the basic schedule. One parent will have the children primarily during the typical school week and the other parent will alternate weekends, share holidays and school vacations, and have a large swath of time in the Summer.
In Texas, child support is based on the parent’s income and number of children to support. In a typical one-child example, the noncustodial parent will pay 20% of their net monthly pay. Net monthly pay is determined by your average gross pay minus standard FICA/Social Security/Medicare deductions and standard tax deductions.
In Texas, spousal support is based on the requesting party’s need and paying party’s available funds. There are specific requirements that apply to temporary spousal support while a case is pending versus post-divorce spousal maintenance. Years of marriage, employment of each spouse, and earning history/ability post-divorce.
Temporary Orders are beneficial in setting some ground rules and expectations for how to begin the separation process. Visitation schedule, child support, use of property, maintenance of debts and expenses, and other temporary rules are put in place.
Texas grants all parents equal rights over their children. The right to talk to doctors, other medical providers, teachers, and counselors are typically listed in most custody and divorce decrees. The right to make decisions in these areas are the usual grounds for litigation. Most Courts appoint parents equal rights to make decisions in these areas or decisions only by mutual agreement of the parties. If one parent is not a reliable decision maker in these areas then a Judge may limit their decision making rights. Family violence, drug or alcohol problems, or lack of prior involvement are the usual reasons to cut back a parent’s rights.
Texas Courts allow you to file an Enforcement, where you list out what’s granted in the prior Court Order and then specify how the other parent is violating that Order. A hearing is held and, if the Judge agrees there has been a violation, then awarding of attorney fees and other fees may be awarded as well as makeup time for missed visits or additional child support amounts to catch up on missed payments.
Texas requires divorces to be filed in the County where you’ve been living for the past 90 days (assuming you’ve also been living in Texas for past 6 months). Custody cases are filed in the county where the child resides. Modification or Enforcement of prior Orders will be filed unless parties have moved around since the last Order. Transfers and modifying out-of-state orders are highly technical and specific so a consultation is the best way to determine what’s right in those instances.
Texas uses the term “Primary Parent” to mean that parent where the child(ren) reside during the school year. This term can also take on layers of meaning for decisions making rights, child support, and ability to claim the child as a dependent.