Conservatorship of Children during Divorce and family law issues
Divorce breaks apart the family and means that parents must come to an agreement on how to raise the children, even though they are no longer together. That is part of what makes divorce and family law strategic.
Being a divorce and family law attorney, I have over 30 years of experience helping my clients navigate the system to come to an agreement that will be beneficial for everyone, especially the children.
Joint Managing Conservatorship. This title from the Texas Family Code is intended to communicate that the parties will work together to make decisions for their children and to co-parent the children even though each parent lives in a different household from the other.
An important goal of joint managing conservatorship is to ensure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with both parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the children; to provide a safe, stable, and non-violent environment for the children; and to encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their children during and after the divorce process.
The alternative to both parents named as a joint managing conservator is “sole managing conservator” in which only one parent is the decision maker. That is rare and usually occurs in instances of health and/or safety issues with the children.
Even if the parents are joint managing conservators, the amount of time that each parent spends with the children is negotiable. While Texas law includes a Standard Possession Order, there are many factors that can result in expanding the amount of time for the non-custodial parent. Being a dedicated family law attorney in Houston, I work hard to sort through the issues of who has the children when and for how long, including holidays, spring break and summer.
Of course, with custody arrangements comes the subject of child support. During divorce and family law, child support is based on many factors. These factors include: the income of the non-custodial parent, number of children, and whether the parent is paying support on children from another relationship.
The amount of child support requested can be based on specific circumstances. Some agreements require support to be provided for private education and extra-curricular activities, the cost of which can fluctuate requiring a modification to the agreement. Special needs of the child can also require the agreement to be revisited; as can a change in income for the paying parent. These modifications can be mediated to more quickly resolve issues and avoid the expense of a trial.
Modification of Prior Court Order
Following the Final Decree of Divorce or Order in Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship, circumstances of the parties may have changed, or the order is no longer workable, which requires a modification of the original order.
The party requesting a modification must show that the requested modification is:
- In the best interest of the child, and;
- The circumstances of the child and a conservator, or a party affected by the order, have materially and substantially changed since the order was signed by the court.
- Material and substantial change comes in many forms, including.
A parent remarries;
A parent is transferred to a new location by his/her employer;
A parent has a change in medical/physical condition, mental health status, criminal history; or,
- The relationship between the parents makes the current order unworkable.