Whether the parents are married or not, raising a child is expensive—and when the parents are no longer raising the child together, issues of child custody and support arise in Lubbock, TX. Parents generally have a right to see their child (barring extenuating circumstances), but they also have responsibilities to their child. Whether you were married to your child’s other parent or not, the legal system can help you sort out issues of child custody and support. Here’s an overview of what to expect.
Establishing custody and visitation
There are two main types of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody is what most people think of when they think of custody—which parent will the child live with? There are a number of different potential custody arrangements, from 50/50 custody to every-other-weekend and similar arrangements. Parents are allowed to establish custody by agreement, but if you cannot agree, you’ll need to come to court.
Legal custody is the right to make medical, educational, religious and other decisions on behalf of your child. Generally, unless a parent is unfit, this is shared between the parents equally. Depending on the facts of your case, your judge may determine another arrangement is in the child’s best interest.
If you don’t get physical custody of your child, you may be entitled to visitation. Again, a judge will consider a number of different factors when determining custody and visitation arrangements. Children age 12 and over may be allowed to offer their preferences as to with whom they would like to live.
Keep in mind that custody in Texas is referred to as conservatorship. It’s generally the same concept, but the terms may be unfamiliar unless you’re experienced with the family law system in Lubbock, TX.
Establishing child support
Custody is used to determine which parent will pay child support. Typically, the non-custodial parent pays child support, in order to make up for the expenses that the child would incur if they were living with them.
Texas has a “fee schedule” for child support, which is a broad guideline used to determine how much money the non-custodial parent should pay. If there are mitigating or extenuating circumstances, the court will examine the parents’ finances and ability to pay. They may adjust the amount up or down accordingly, or they may choose to leave the support amount as it is. This is when having a skilled family law attorney in Lubbock, TX can really help.
Many parents wonder why only one of them is paying child support—shouldn’t the other parent be legally required to pay a certain amount toward the care of the child? The court assumes that the custodial parent is paying their “fair share” directly, by raising the child (and paying associated costs) on their custodial time. If you feel your child support is unfair, it’s best to discuss it with an attorney as soon as possible.
For more information about child custody and support in Lubbock, TX, contact The Law Office of Rob Biggers today.
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Categorised in: Divorce