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Bryan Texas Family Law Blog

Is a custody modification difficult to obtain?

If circumstances have changed since your Texas divorce and you feel the need to modify your custody and parenting time order, you will be glad to know that getting a modification is not necessarily difficult assuming you and your ex-spouse agree on which modified provisions you want. As FindLaw explains, custody modifications are relatively common, especially if your children were young at the time of your divorce.

Many divorced couples require several custody modifications as their children grow up and their needs change. But while you and your spouse can privately change the provisions of your custody order by mutual agreement any time you wish without court intervention, should one of you then renege on your agreement, the other cannot enforce it. Only a court-ordered custody arrangement can be legally enforced.

How children benefit from knowing their fathers

Separating from the mother of your child is rarely an easy process, and in some cases, divorces and separations can lead to long, drawn-out custody and visitation battles. While at times, navigating your way through such matters can take a lot out of you, it is important that you keep in mind just how critical a part you play in your son or daughter’s life and well-being.

According to Parenting, the positive effects of having a father around begin as early as birth, with children who know and engage with their fathers regularly proving more confident and emotionally secure than those without fathers in their lives. Additionally, while studies show that even “mediocre” fathers can have positive effects on their children’s development, the more time you spend maintaining an active presence in your child’s life, the better off he or she is likely to be. So, in what ways do children benefit from spending time with their fathers?

Your rights as a possessory conservator

Many in Tyler may view child custody proceedings as a "zero-sum game," in that rulings for or against you during such proceedings equate to victories or losses for your ex-spouse. Following this line of thinking, that would likely mean that if your ex-spouse is named as your children's managing conservator, you have lost. Many who find themselves in that position come to us here at The Law Office of Brian Turner thinking that they now must defer to their ex-spouses in all matters related to their children. If you share the same hopelessness, you should know that simply is not the case. 

Anyone appointed conservator over children in Texas (whether that be sole, managing, joint or possessory) retains certain parental and authoritative rights. Per Section 153.073 of Texas' Family Code, as a possessory conservator, you still have the right to: 

  • Attend school and auxiliary functions and activities
  • Be listed as an emergency contact 
  • Consult with your children's school teachers and administrators regarding their education
  • Manage your children's estate

Can men be victims of domestic violence?

When it comes to domestic violence, women and children are usually the ones portrayed as the victims. This is often the case, as men generally have a physical advantage over women and children. However, as you may know, men in Texas and elsewhere can also be victimized by their partners.

Domestic violence affects everyone, including men, as the National Domestic Violence Hotline explains. In fact, about one out of every 10 men in America suffer sexual or physical violence or stalking by a romantic partner each year, and about half of men are emotionally and psychologically abused. These numbers may be much higher than reported, as many men do not report being victims of abuse.

What factors can lead a father to get custody?

The age-old belief that children are automatically placed in the physical custody of the mother during a divorce may be fading out. There may be factors involved in the situation that could lead a judge presiding over the case to award physical custody to the father. Judges will look at several factors when determining who is best capable of taking care of the child in a divorce.

First, the father must prove that he is the biological father of the child by performing a paternity test. This can even be shown if the father signed the child’s birth certificate. The judge will ask about the child’s relationship with both the father and the mother. Is the father the primary caretaker of the child? Has the mother failed to participate in raising the child? Would a joint-custody situation be beneficial for the child or would the child do better in sole-custody of one parent?

Is shared parenting better for kids?

As you go through the divorce process, you may forget about the unwilling participants that are going through the process with you. Children are simply along for the ride when it comes to child custody, child support and adapting to a new lifestyle as you go through a separation. Whether kids are forced to move into a separate home away from the other parent, or made to switch schools and make new friends, divorce can be extremely hard on kids of all ages. Although you may be headed for divorce, there are things you can do to minimize the affect these changes have on children.

A study conducted by the National Parents Organization showed that the parenting schedules outlined by state courts can help to shape the parenting time implemented in many divorce situations. Part of this research includes the fact that children do remarkably better when placed in joint-custody homes. Kids of all ages, including infants, were shown to experience benefits if they are able to spend time with both parents, as opposed to living with one parent the majority of the time.

Tips for making a welcoming post-divorce home for your child

Let us say that you are the non-custodial parent. The home you moved into when you divorced is a few miles away from the only home your eight-year-old daughter has ever known, and you want to ensure that the important father-daughter bond remains strong. Helping Annie feel happy and secure in unfamiliar surroundings will help a great deal. There are several useful tips to keep in mind.

Let your child participate

What is the Child Support Evaders Program?

Whether you are currently making child support payments, or you receive child support payments from your former spouse, both parents are financially responsible for maintaining the wellbeing of their child. There are some cases, however, where one parent fails to meet this financial obligation and does not make the child support payments their child needs. People who are significantly delinquent on their court-ordered child support payments may be referred to the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Evader’s program.

If you or your former spouse are behind on one or two payments, there are ways you can quickly make up the money owed. When someone is at least $5,000 behind in payments, however, there are more aggressive ways to recover the unpaid funds. In order to qualify for the Child Support Evaders program, the non-custodial parent must meet certain conditions. These include the following:

  •          Not made a payment in the last six months
  •          Have had a warrant issued for arrest
  •          Avoiding apprehension

Is your spouse hiding marital property?

When you are going through the divorce process, both parties are required to disclose all property and assets, allowing the judge presiding over the case to divide the marital property accordingly. However, some spouses may attempt to hide marital property and assets, only to reclaim them after the divorce is finalized. You deserve your half of the marital property and be on the lookout for the signs that your spouse is engaging in this deceptive practice.

If your spouse has complete control of your bank accounts, including online passwords, you may want to gain access to these accounts, so you can view activity. Your spouse may be able to change passwords, transfer funds to other accounts and make secretive withdrawals from the account, all without you knowing. Spouses attempting to hide money may suddenly lose or delete a financial program where all of your statements are stored. They may start asking you to sign multiple documents, such as life insurance policies, deeds to property and tax returns.

What things can I spend my child support on?

As a Texas parent receiving child support, you may have questions about what kinds of things you can spend your child support money on. Naturally you can spend it on such necessities as your children’s food and clothing, but is that all? The answer is no. As FindLaw explains, you have enormous discretion when it comes to all the things that you can legitimately spend this money on.

Child support obviously should go for the support of your children, but this means that anything you spend it on that helps your kids maintain the lifestyles they had prior to your divorce is perfectly legal. For instance, if you and your ex-spouse always sent your kids to private schools, you can spend child support money to keep them there, including tuition, books, activity fees, lunches, uniforms, supplies and anything else that the schools require.

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