Every family struggles with visitation agreements but your children deserve the best solution possible.

What Are Reasonable Visitation Rights?

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As a parent and going through a divorce, chances are you will be sharing custody with your ex. This means the court is likely to address the question of possession of the children and set up a reasonable visitation schedule.

But you may be wondering, how does the court decide what are reasonable visitation rights? And what happens if your ex doesn’t hold up his or her end of the deal? So let’s learn a little more about your visitation rights as a parent. 

What Does It Mean to Be a Conservator?

A successful visitation schedule works for everyone but is critical for your children's happiness.
A successful visitation schedule works for everyone but is critical for your children’s happiness.

Have you been hearing the term “conservatorship” a lot lately? If so, it might be because the pop singer Britney Spears has been in the news, contesting her conservatorship.

However, Spears is a grown woman. Let’s briefly explain what it means to be a conservator in Texas, as the terms can be confusing. The State of Texas has two types of custody. Physical custody defines who the children will live with.

Legal custody means having the right to make important life decisions regarding the upbringing of the children. Often, the judge will give primary physical custody to only one person. The court refers to this person as the custodial parent. The other person, of course, is called the non-custodial parent. 

However, Texas courts typically don’t use the word custody. Instead, they use the term conservatorship. The court calls the custodial parent the primary conservator, and the non-custodial parent the possessory conservator. The possessory conservator may not have decision-making authority but usually does have visitation rights. 

How Does the Court Decide Who Gets Custody in Texas?

Texas Family Court Judges focus on children's needs in signing-off on custody and visitation agreements.
Texas Family Court Judges focus on children’s needs in signing off on custody and visitation agreements.

The Texas Family Code Section 153.002 states that the court shall make decisions about child custody and visitation based upon the best interests of the child. In an ideal scenario, it is the child’s best interest to spend equal time with both parents. In addition, both parents are equally involved in making decisions for the kids. The court calls this arrangement a Joint Managing Conservatorship. 

Of course, in some situations, the judge will restrict the legal and physical custody and visitation rights of a parent. The court calls this arrangement a Sole Managing Conservatorship. This arrangement also can impact the parent’s visitation rights. The judge may require that the visits be supervised. In extreme cases, he or she may forbid any child visitation. 

Reasonable Visitation Rights Should Be Flexible

As we mentioned, the State focuses on the child’s best interests. However, parents (usually) have a legal right to spend time with their child. And it is (usually) best for both parents to be involved in the child’s life. 

Texas judges understand that one parent or both may have non-traditional schedules. For example, firefighters, police officers, and health care workers often work unusual schedules. In these cases, a strict custody and visitation schedule may not work.

Thus, courts are likely to give parents the opportunity to create their own parenting agreement. This allows the custodial and non-custodial parent to come up with a plan that is reasonable for both parties. If both parents can agree on a plan, they can submit it to the court for review. This plan may become part of the final visitation order.   

What If the Parents Cannot Agree on Reasonable Visitation Rights?

The court wants parents to work together. But if they cannot, the court will develop a possession schedule for them, ensuring that the non-custodial parent will have time with the child. 

The Texas Family Code has what is called a Standard Possession Order (SPO).  This is the default possession order and visitation schedule in Texas. The typical SPO works like this:

  • During the school year, children spend the first, third, and fifth weekend of each month with the noncustodial parent.
  • They also spend one weeknight evening with the non-custodial parent during the school year. 

The Standard Possession Order also covers visitation rights for summer and holidays. 

Can a noncustodial parent request more time with his or her children? Yes. In this case, the parent can request a Texas Expanded Standard Possession Order (ESPO). In a typical ESPO, children also spend Thursday nights with the non-custodial parent. The child stays with this parent until Monday morning, following the regularly assigned weekends as well. The ESPO also addresses visitation during the holidays and summer vacation time.

What do Do If A Parent Is Not Following the Visitation Order

Unfortunately, divorcing parents do not always have an amicable relationship. Or parents who previously got along well may have a falling out. In these cases, the parent with primary custody of the child may act in spite, intentionally trying to punish the ex. For example, your ex decides to stop cooperating, making it difficult for you to spend time with your child. 

If the custodial parent strays from the reasonable visitation rights you originally agreed to, you may need to modify the court order. As a Texas parent, you (usually) have a legal right to see your child. We recommend you consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help protect your parental rights. Read our recent blog, Enforcing a Court Order in Texas.

Don’t Let Temporary Visitation Rights Become Permanent

Life is unpredictable, and occasionally, parents end up having to adjust their visitation plan to accommodate unforeseen circumstances. One parent may end up caring for the children more or less than the court’s original possession schedule. This was a common occurrent last year, when many parents were struggling to cope with the pandemic. Some parents worked from home or had to work additional hours. Others had to home-school their kids. And many parents lost their jobs. 

During the pandemic, these temporary adjustments may have gone on for several months. Parents who were now sharing equal custody time began to wonder why they were still paying child support. And primary conservator parents began to worry that they would lose custody. Some parents thought this might be a good time to request a legal change to the possession and visitation agreement. 

Parents who have had a significant change in circumstances do have grounds to request a court order modification. However, even if you get a 50/50 custody arrangement in Texas, you may still need to pay child support. In these cases, we suggest you talk with a trusted lawyer. Read our recent blog, Does Being Unemployed Affect Child Custody?

How Long Does It Take to Get Visitation Rights Set Up?

Texas Child Custody Agreement are signed by your judge as part of a final divorce decree. Modifications can take much longer to settle and be signed.
Texas Child Custody Agreement is signed by your judge as part of a final divorce decree. Modifications can take much longer to settle and be signed.

Courts usually can establish visitation rights quicker if they can address them in conjunction with the divorce petition. The process also is likely to go quicker if you and your spouse can agree to a temporary possession and visitation schedule. 

On the other hand, the court may need more time to address custody cases for parents who are not married. Again,  the judge’s ability to establish reasonable visitation rights will be heavily influenced by how well the parents get along.

An attorney experienced in child custody issues can be very helpful in these situations. Sean Lynch + Associates have over twenty years of Family Law experience and have been voted Best Family Law Attorneys by Fort Worth Magazine five years in a row.

Texas Judges Cannot Make a Parent Visit His or Her Children

If the custodial parent is denying the other parent court-ordered visitations, the court may intervene to ensure that the parenting agreement is being followed. However, the court cannot force the non-custodial parent to spend time with his or her children. 

Of course, in these situations, the children suffer the most. If a parent doesn’t show up for a visit, the kids may hold themselves responsible. 

If the non-custodial parent routinely misses visitations, the primary conservator can petition the court to modify the visitation agreement. Unfortunately, limiting the other parent’s visits, even if they are inconsistent, may not be in the child’s best interests. 

One more point: If your ex is consistently failing to visit the kids, try to be discreet. We recommend you resist criticizing him or her in front of your kids. You may have more success by meeting with a family counselor. Read our recent blog, How to Win Child Custody in Texas.

Have Questions About Visitation Rights in Texas?

Sean Lynch + Associates are ready to work with you to get the visitation schedule that works for your families happiness.

Our family law lawyers in Fort Worth TX have the skills and experience to serve you. To schedule a no-cost case consultation, contact our firm by phone at 817-668-5879 or connect with us online.

Texas Child Support agreements detail the responsibilities for both parents; including what happens for failure to pay

SSI and Child Support – Do I Have To Pay Child Support For A Child on SSI or SSDI?

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Here’s what you need to know about whether you need to pay child support for a child receiving Social Security benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Child Support Payments and the SSI Program

Texas provides adjustments for child support where SSI/SSA programs based on child support payments.
Texas provides adjustments for child support where SSI/SSA programs based on child support payments.

For children who receive both child support and SSI, the SSA will reduce children’s SSI benefits by two-thirds of the monthly child support payments. This is because the Social Security Administration counts two-thirds of the child’s child support payments as income when calculating benefits, and excludes the remaining one-third.

In many cases, a parent may be paying lifetime child support for children who are blind or disabled. The SSA would consider the entire child support that an adult child is receiving as income, which would further reduce their SSI benefits.

If you have a disabled adult child that received life-long child support payments, the calculation differs. In this instance, the SSA considers the total amount of child support payments as income, not two-thirds.

Ultimately, this means that the eligibility of your children for SSI would not reduce your obligations on its own. It would simply reduce the SSI benefit they receive.

In some cases, children may be receiving more child support than the income guidelines stated by the SSA. This would cause your children to lose their SSI benefit as they are no longer eligible.

Paying Child Support If You Are On SSI

Texas law does not consider SSI as income. Therefore, a parent will not have the obligation to pay monthly child support payments if they are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and it is their sole source of income.

Obtain a statement from the Social Security Administration stating that you receive Social Security benefits. If you were ordered to pay monthly child support payments prior to receiving SSI, your attorney could file a modification case to reduce your future child support obligations.

If you are receiving SSI payments, the authorities cannot garnish an SSI payment for any child support payment. Keep in mind that even if you are disabled and receive Social Security disability benefits, you are still responsible for any child support obligations as ordered by the courts.

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Supplemental Security Income is a federal benefit for elderly and disabled individuals.
Supplemental Security Income is a federal benefit for elderly and disabled individuals.

Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a federal program directed by the Social Security Administration that provides monthly cash payments to blind or disabled individuals such as disabled children, or elderly people with low-income.

The eligibility criteria for SSI includes whether your income falls below the income limits of the SSI program. It’s important to note that income does not only include the money made from your job. It will also include the value of certain benefits you receive. For example, if your relative provides you with a free room, that will be counted as income.

No matter which state you live in (including Texas), the basic monthly SSI payments are $794 per person or $1,191 for a married couple. However, the amount you receive for SSI also depends on a person’s resources and income. Income can include:

  • Income from providing work or other services
  • Receiving payments from Social Security, pension alimony, veteran’s benefits, and child support
  • Free-rent or food benefits
  • A portion of the income earned by other members of your household

For the purposes of Social Security Income (SSI), resources are classified as anything you own that can be converted into cash. This can include the following:

  • Personal property
  • Vehicles
  • Land
  • Bank accounts
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Life insurance

Impact of SSDI on Child Support

A child may receive derivative benefits due to a parent’s disability and low income. This means they receive additional income for their living expenses.

If your child receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, it will count towards income for the parent. If the SSDI benefits of the children derive from a non-custodial parent, the court will subtract the amount you receive from SSDI from the child support obligation.

It’s possible to receive SSDI and child support at the same time. However, a valid child support order from a legal separation can impact the total amount of benefits a child may be eligible for.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI is a federal program that offers monthly cash benefits to disabled families and individuals who have a history of working.

To be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must have been employed by a job that is covered by Social Security for at least ten years. In addition, you must fall under their definition of disability. The individual must have a condition that severely affects their ability to perform work-related activities. Work-related activities include walking, lifting, standing, or sitting. Generally, most people fall into the criteria if they cannot work for a year or more.

It’s important to note that an SSDI payment can be garnished to fulfill any outstanding monthly child support obligation.

Child Benefits Due To SSDI

For parents who receive SSDI benefits, your children may also be eligible for Social Security dependents benefits. If you receive approval for SSDI, you can apply for dependent child benefits. These can be credited towards your child’s support obligations. For example, you have to pay $600 per month for child support, and you are receiving $250 for your child’s dependent benefits. You would only be responsible for the $550 gap.

If you had accrued debt from child support after becoming disabled, dependent child benefits may also cover these arrearages.

Do I Have to Pay Child Support if My Child Gets SSI or SSDI?

SSI benefits received by disabled children are intended to supplement their income and are not a substitute. Receiving SSI or SSDI from the Social Security Administration does not impact a non-custodial parent’s obligation to pay child support.

Modifying Child Support Through The Courts

Family courts will consider modifications of child support agreements if you can demonstrate the cost of a child's care has become excessive.
Family courts will modify child support agreements if you can demonstrate the cost of a child’s care has become excessive.

The state law governs child support, but federal authorities can also enforce child support. If there are changes to your child’s Social Security benefits and you would like to change the amount of child support you are ordered to pay as a non-custodial parent, you’ll have to go through a court procedure to file a modification case. If you have reduced income due to disability, you can also ask for a court hearing so you can make the case to reduce your child support payments.

Contact Us For A No-Cost Case Review

Sean Lynch + Associates are ready to fight for your children’s child support.

Need help understanding your child support obligations as a non-custodial parent when your children are receiving SSI or SSDI? Engage the services of the award-winning Family Law attorneys at Sean Lynch + Associates. We have decades of experience in family law and are knowledgeable in SSI and child support.

Contact Sean Lynch + Associates Law Firm today for a no-cost case review.

Child Support For A Disabled Child

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The purpose of child support is to meet the needs of a child including all medical expenses. Receiving and paying for child support becomes more complex when a child is disabled.

For a disabled child, the parent may receive a dependent disability allowance. This may boost the non-custodial parent’s ability to pay for child support.

How Long Do You Pay Child Support For A Disabled Child?

Under the Texas Family Code, parents have to support their child until the age of 18, or when the child graduates from high school and they are no longer a minor.

For disabled children, parents have the obligation to support their child indefinitely until either the child or the parent passes away. However, the courts will carefully consider the type of disability and what the disability does.

Typically the judge will order support for an adult child if they find that either:

  • the child had the disability or had special needs on or before turning 18 years old
  • the child must have substantial care and supervision and cannot support themselves financially, which will require the parents’ financial assistance

What Happens When A Disabled Child Turns 18?

Most Texas courts will determine that a parent has a duty to support their adult child who is disabled or has special needs, and is unable to support themselves.

The non-custodial parent may be ordered to pay indefinite child support in Texas if:

  • The special needs child requires personal supervision and substantial care because of a mental or physical disability. The child is also not capable of self-support.
  • The disability existed or was known to exist on or before the child’s 18th birthday

A parent or guardian who has custody of the child may seek a court order through a family law attorney in an attempt to pursue adult child support from the absentee parent. If the judge finds that the child should receive child support, the parent may continue to make payments. If deemed appropriate, the judge may order the parent to pay all child support payments directly to the other parent.

Under the Texas Family Code, the judge will use a needs-based assessment to calculate an appropriate amount of child support given. Before the judge can have a ruling on the adult child support order, they must consider the following:

  • The amount of support the child needs for their mental or physical disability.
  • The financial resources that both parents have to help an adult child.
  • The financial resources that are available for the care and supervision of adult child support.

If parents do not want to continue paying child support, they must prove to the court that the disabled or special needs child can live on their own and earn their own income. Information regarding the child’s life skills and work history may prove that they can live alone.

Do You Get More Child Maintenance for a Disabled Child?

With the rising costs of childcare courts will consider modifications of child support agreements.
With the rising costs of childcare courts will consider modifications of child support agreements.

You can usually get more child support for a disabled child or a child with special needs. A parent must provide evidence that their child has a disability to the judge or the child support agency in order to receive child support for their special needs child. Typically, school records and medical documents may be sufficient evidence. You can also use sworn statements about the child’s disabilities.

However, if any of your children are considered to be permanently disabled, they are also likely to be awarded additional financial support in the form of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This provides income to cover their basic living expenses. When the dependent receives disability payments, this may reduce the non-custodial parent’s obligation to pay child support.

How is Child Support Calculated in Texas?

Texas Family Law code spells out exactly how much support will be paid.
Texas Family Law code spells out exactly how much support will be paid.

When calculating the child support obligation, the court will generally calculate the amount based on a parent’s net monthly income and the number of children for calculation.

The net monthly income is calculated by taking all gross income and then deducting costs such as taxes and health insurance expenses for your children.

The court will calculate child support using a percentage of your net monthly income, depending on the number of children involved. In Texas, the guidelines for the court to calculate child support obligation are:

  • One child: 20% of total net monthly income
  • Two children: 25% of total net monthly income
  • Three children: 30% of total net monthly income
  • Four children: 35% of total net monthly income
  • Five children: 40% of total net monthly income
  • Six children or more: at least 40% of total net monthly income or more

Receiving Medical Child Support in Texas

The legal system also needs to ensure that your child can receive proper health insurance. Many factors will be considered by the court to determine who will bear the majority of the cost of health insurance for a child who is disabled or who has special needs.

For example, the court usually looks at the quality and cost of health insurance. They will also consider whether any coverage is available at a reasonable cost through a trade association or a parent’s employer.

Can a Child Receive SSDI and Child Support at the Same Time?

Yes, it is possible. The child’s SSDI derivative benefit is included as income for the parent from whom they derive. If they are from the non-custodial parent, then the court will subtract the amount of benefit from the non-custodial parent’s child support obligation.

Can a Child Receive SSI and Child Support at the Same Time?

The SSI is a federal program designed to help the disabled. A child can receive both at the same time.

However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will reduce SSI benefits by two-thirds of the amount of child support received.

For an adult above the age of 18 or who has graduated high school, the SSA will consider the entire amount of child support as the child’s income. The child support received may exceed the SSA’s income guidelines which would mean the child loses SSI benefits.

That’s why having a special needs trust can be beneficial to yourself and your children. The court can have all future support payments go directly into the special needs trust. As a result, it will shelter your income and enable the beneficiary to retain SSI benefits.

Modifying a Child Support Order

The parent must provide evidence that there has been a sufficient change in circumstances to ask the family law courts for a legal modification. For example, if the adult disabled child can take care of themselves, the court may remove the obligations to cover child support provided that they are no longer a minor and at leats 18 yeras of age.

A court can also adjust future support owed if there are various factors in the case. This may be a change in the custody agreement, a relocation or a job loss.

Sean Lynch + Associates are ready to fight for your children’s child support.

Family law issues in Texas can be complex. If you’re looking to receive support for a child with a disability or special needs or to understand your obligations regarding support for an adult child, it’s important to seek help from a qualified attorney.

Let the award-winning Family Law experts at Sean Lynch + Associates law firm help you prepare your legal case. We have years of experience in family law.

Contact us today for a no-cost case review.

Enforcement of Child Medical Expense Texas Court Order

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Child support normally includes the medical expenses of the child. While there may be health insurance coverage available to the child provided by a parent’s employer, the non-custodial parent may have to cover the cost of the child’s healthcare that is not covered under an insurance policy. In this article, we discuss your options for the enforcement of a child’s medical expenses under a Texas court order.

Uninsured medical expenses can include any deductibles, prescriptions, co-pays, and any adaptive devices. Adaptive devices include wheelchairs or hearing aids required by the child. If there are dental expenses or even optician expenses that an employer does not provide coverage for, they can also be considered uninsured medical expenses. This is on the basis that these expenses are medically necessary.

Who Is Responsible For Uninsured Medical Expenses?

Texas Family Law courts clearly set out who is responsible for medical expenses.
Texas Family Law courts clearly set out who is responsible for medical expenses.

Parents can allocate responsibility for medical costs in their divorce agreement, including the monthly premiums required for health insurance coverage. The court will consider the agreement and approve it if it is in the best interests of the child.

However, there are circumstances where the court may order that a parent does not have to provide payment toward medical bills of a child. For example, it might place undue hardship on one parent. Health insurance might also not be available at a reasonable cost. The Texas state court defines a reasonable cost for insurance coverage as a percentage of gross annual income. The costs cannot exceed 9 percent for health insurance and 1.5 percent for dental coverage.

The parents may not always share the costs for a child’s medical bill equally. Sometimes the court may order that one parent with more financial resources cover a greater portion of the payments.

According to the Texas Family Code, non-custodial parents are required to make payment for medical bills on top of the basic child support obligations. The medical support obligation for the children must be clearly stated within the divorce agreement in order for you to enforce the agreement in court.

Enforcement Of Child’s Unpaid Uninsured Medical Expenses

Divorced parents have enough on their plates without having to run down child support.
Divorced parents have enough on their plates without having to run down child support.

Firstly, you need to demonstrate that you have reached out to the other parent to ask them to pay within a certain time period. Your court order may indicate a notice period within which your ex has to make payment. If you have already paid, keep copies of the receipts and bills so that you can ask for a reimbursement. It’s best to also keep any communication with health insurers. This will show that the insurer paid their share of the uninsured medical expenses.

The other parent might disagree with the medical expenses incurred. For example, they may disagree with your decision to take your child to the doctor for a mild cold. The court will consider if the medical expenses are justified before determining if the other parent should also be responsible for the expense.

If your ex does not pay their portion of the uninsured medical expenses, you can seek legal action. Even if they didn’t want a child they are still responsible for support. Your attorney can ask the court to enforce the court order. The legal action undertaken by your attorney is very similar to that taken when enforcing child support payments.

The child support enforcement agency in the state of Texas can help to get the other parent to pay up if they are also missing child support payments. Even if Child Protective Services has removed a child from the physical custody of a parent they need to continue paying support. Otherwise, you can file a Motion to Enforce through your lawyer to ask the other parent to pay their share of the uninsured medical expenses. You must have evidence to prove your child’s medical expenses and your attempts to ask the other parent for payment. Include proof that you have made payment for the share of your costs that you are responsible for.

Under law, you have to provide your ex with notice so they have time to respond before the court hearing. The court can order your ex to pay if the court determines that your ex is liable for the costs.

In some cases, you may also have a case to go to the small claims court. This is possible if you have already paid for your child’s medical expenses and the other parent does not want to pay and reimburse you. Your lawyer may be able to advise you on your options.

Contact Us For A No-Cost Case Review

Sean Lynch + Associates are always ready to fight for child support payments.

If you need help seeking enforcement of a child’s medical expenses under a Texas court order, let the award-winning Family Law experts at Sean Lynch + Associates help you prepare your legal case. We have years of experience in family law and can answer your questions.

Contact us today for a no-cost case review.

Contempt Actions – Enforcing A Court Order

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It can be a frustrating experience having your ex refuse to comply with any of the requirements about possession or access, child support, and alimony stated in a final order after a lengthy divorce suit. Seeking contempt actions while enforcing a court order is a solution available to you if all other attempts to get them to obey orders have failed. The court may require the other parent to comply with the order. Otherwise, they can be subject to enforcement actions such as jail time as prescribed in the Texas Family Code.

Motion For Contempt

Supervised child visitations are one action Family Court Judges can impose for ex's that are not obeying visitation agreements.
Supervised child visitations are one action Family Court Judges can impose for ex’s that are not obeying visitation agreements.

A Motion for Contempt is filed with the Texas court if your ex is not following court orders. This is common when your ex does not pay for child support, your child’s medical expenses, or spousal maintenance.

The Motion for Contempt must be served to the person in violation of the court order with sufficient notice and the hearing date will be set. You will need to state all the occurrences of contempt and provide evidence. You must prove that your ex could follow orders but willfully chose not to. The other person will have to appear in court.

They may attempt to give reasons why they were unable to follow the order. However, they will need to show they made reasonable efforts but were unable to follow the orders for any reason. Otherwise, they may be subject to contempt actions while the courts are enforcing the court order.

Motion For Enforcement

Texas court enforcement can include wage garnishment.
Texas court enforcement powers can include wage garnishment.

Filing a Motion for Enforcement seeks to make the other person comply with a court order for child custody, support or alimony. This might be used when the other person refuses to follow court-ordered possession and access. Alternatively, a person might refuse to turn over proceeds or close bank accounts during the property division process. The judge will order the other person to complete the action required. In some cases, especially with property division, the court can order third parties such as banks to complete the action.

Penalties For Contempt of Court

For a person held in contempt, the court might order civil contempt or criminal contempt penalties.

The Texas judge may order jail time or a fine for the parent who violated the court order. In this situation, the case will typically go to trial. The party involved will have the right to engage an attorney.

Alternatively, a contempt order might include community supervision. This is a suspended sentence as long as the parent complies with certain conditions. Conditions can include paying their overdue child support and attorney’s fees, seeking counseling, or getting employment assistance services.

Alternatively, the judge may order that the parent in violation give the other party additional parenting time for not meeting custody and visitation requirements.

When Is A Court Order Enforceable By Contempt?

Texas Family Courts contempt powers can take the extreme measure of arresting someone for the habitual and flagrant ignoring of court orders.
Texas Court can jail offenders for habitually and flagrantly ignoring court orders.

The language of the court order must be specific enough for all parties involved to understand what is required from them before it can be enforced. For example, child custody and visitation orders must indicate clearly the visitation period and the time and place of exchange.

You must also be clear that the other party showed a failure to obey the orders. Otherwise, it might not be a good use of your time to file a motion.

You must show that you have fulfilled all of your responsibilities needed to allow the other party to fulfill their own. You should also have attempted other remedies before you can enforce order through legal means.

Contact Us For A No-Cost Case Review

If you need help to file a motion and seek enforcement, let the award-winning Family Law attorneys at Sean Lynch + Associates help you prepare your legal case. We have decades of experience in family law.

Contact us today for a no-cost case review and learn how Tarrant County Family Court can enforce your court order.

Your Ex Withholding Tax Information During Divorce?

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The exchange of information and the property division process after a divorce can be a challenging one. What can make things worse is your ex withholding tax information during divorce and being entirely uncooperative.

Even after divorce, trying to figure out the process of filing taxes is a whole new obstacle. Unfortunately, you do need to work with your ex when you claim the child on your tax return.

Here’s what you need to know about tax information during divorce, filing taxes after a divorce and what to do if your ex does not cooperate.

Tax Information During Property Division, Child Support and Alimony Payments

Tax penalties and refunds don't wait for divorce. Work with your attorney to get what you need to stay in compliance.
Tax penalties and refunds don’t wait for a divorce. Work with your attorney to stay in compliance with the IRS.

As a result, your ex may withhold information as that might result in higher child support payments as part of the divorce agreement if they are a non-custodial parent. This can also potentially lower the child support payments that you receive if they are the custodial parent. There can also be implications on alimony payments received.

Both parties are required to make full disclosure of their assets when going through a divorce. This also includes information about taxes which can often reveal assets that you might not know that your ex-spouse had.

If alimony and child support is an issue during a divorce, you and your ex-spouse must provide the following information to each other:

  • Income tax returns for the previous two years
  • Form W-2, Form 1099, and Schedule K-1 if you did not file a tax return for the preceding two years
  • Two most recent payroll check stubs

This is in addition to other information about personal finance, retirement plans, account statements, property owned, and insurance policies.

Consequences of Property Division

It’s important to consider the tax implications of asset division. Property transfers can be subject to income taxes or gift taxes except under certain conditions.

Generally, the transfer of property to an ex will not be subject to capital gains tax or gift tax if it occurs within one year of the marriage ceasing or if it is pursuant to a divorce agreement (including modifications). The timing if you decide to sell your home will also be important for tax purposes.

Child support is not a tax-deductible expense in the payor’s income tax return if your divorce was final by Dec 31, 2018. You also cannot deduct alimony payments from your tax return. The spouse who receives alimony or child support also does not need to report it as taxable income if the divorce was final by December 31, 2018.

Filing Taxes After Divorce

There are a few things that you need to be aware of when filing your taxes after a divorce.

Filing Status

Even during a pandemic, the IRS enforces due dates for your tax returns. Don't let your ex's bad behavior cost you penalties.
Even during a pandemic, the IRS enforces due dates for your tax returns. Don’t let your ex’s bad behavior cost you penalties.

Your filing status depends on your marital status. If you are divorced by 12 a.m. on December 31 of the tax year, you will be filing separately from your ex. You can file as Single or Head of Household on your separate tax return if you have dependents. This is possible even if you were still married for some months of the year. You will be considered as single for the entire year by the IRS.

However, if you don’t have your divorce decree or legal separation by 31 Dec of the tax year, you are only able to file as Married Filing Separately or Married Filing Jointly. It can become a point of contention with your ex if you have to still file a joint return, although there may be a tax deduction for married couples. Note that your ex can’t file a joint return without your knowledge. Both spouses must sign a joint tax return for the IRS to accept it.

Filing as Head of Household

If you file as Head of Household, it may be more favorable for you. Doing so can allow you to have higher standard deduction and better tax brackets. However, you will need to have had a dependent living with you for more than half the year. You must also show you paid more than half of the maintenance of your home.

Claiming Your Child As A Dependent On Your Tax Return

A noncustodial parent cannot claim the child tax credit on their tax return. Only the custodial parent gets to claim a child on their tax return.

However, divorced parents may still be eligible for certain tax credits even if you can’t claim your child as a dependent. You may also be able to claim some medical expenses that you pay for your child. Speak to a tax expert for updated tax advice.

You do not have to split your tax refund with your ex in exchange for claiming your child after the divorce is finalized.

Requesting Information From Your Ex

You can send your spouse a Request for Production of Documents to ask them to provide information for fair property division. You can also send Interrogatories which are questions that your ex-spouse has to answer under oath. Your ex must respond to these requests or state legal objections.

If you don’t want to wait for your ex, you can have your attorney send a subpoena to third parties who have the financial information relevant to your divorce. You can also send a deposition subpoena so your ex or a third party has to appear in court to be questioned under oath and provide evidence.

Seeking Court Orders

If your ex refuses to provide information, you can ask your attorney to take the issue up with the court. You can file a Motion to Compel which will have the court order your ex to provide the documents requested. Your ex will have to file a written response and write the reasons why they are not providing the information. The judge then decides if the reasons are legally fair and not protected by any legal privilege. If the judge finds in your favor, they will order your ex to provide the documents within a certain time period.

Being Held in Contempt

If your ex refuses to comply with the court order, your spouse may be held in contempt. They can be liable for fines, jail time, an attorney’s fee award where they have to pay your attorney’s fee incurred in filing the court order and disallowing your ex from adding some types of evidence when the case goes to trial.

Navigating Tax Issues in Fort Worth, Texas

Sean Lynch + Associates will fight to protect your rights even in the most contested divorce and at a price, you can afford.

When you’re getting a divorce, many tax questions can arise when you have to obtain tax information to determine a fair divorce settlement or when you have to divide assets.

It’s important to engage a qualified tax expert and attorney to help you with these issues to protect your rights. Our family law experts at Sean Lynch + Associates with decades of experience can help. If you have any questions, contact us for a no-cost case review.

Two of the Best Fort Worth Divorce Lawyers Celebrate Near Southside Fort Worth

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Today, we’re excited to roll out our latest video. As you’ll see, it’s a celebration of our home on the Near Southside of Fort Worth. It also will help you understand why many people consider us to be two of the the best Fort Worth divorce lawyers and family law attorneys.

Fort Worth Divorce Attorneys on the Near Southside

We love where we work. Our family law office is located in Fort Worth’s Near Southside, at 2812 Hemphill Street. Even though the Near Southside is a growing and vibrant area, we love that it still has a cozy, community feel to it. 

For example, some mornings, we pop in for a coffee at one of the Near Southside’s great breakfast joints. There’s Avoca, Brewed, or the Paris Coffee Shop. It’s nice to be served by someone who recognizes you, and even more fun when to see someone there you know. 

Around lunch, you might find us back near Magnolia Avenue again, grabbing a bite at Benito’s Mexican Cuisine, Fixture, Locavore, or perhaps Heim Barbecue. And don’t get us started talking about Cat City Grill or Melt

You might be thinking, “That’s great, but all that fine dining can be bad for your health.” We’ve had the same thought—which is why we also are grateful to have three of Fort Worth’s world-class health care providers near our law firm: John Peter Smith Hospital, Texas Health Resources, and Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical. Carter Bloodcare also is right up the street. 

We don’t hope to need any of those fine hospitals anytime soon, but it’s nice to know they are nearby, along with Cook Children’s Medical Center. 

Fort Worth divorce lawyer helping clients throughout Tarrant County

S + L attorney Stephanie Sabelhaus plan case work with staff members
Finding the right attorney for you is critical to the success of your family law case.

When it comes to Fort Worth, TX divorce, one of the things we enjoy most about our jobs is that we get to help people. When we started our law firm 2 years ago, we made a mutual commitment to master our profession. Since then, we’ve successfully handled every type of divorce, from simple cases to complex ones involving custody, child support, division of assets, and more. 

But beyond becoming experts in Texas family law, we also made a commitment to treat our clients differently. Divorce can be a traumatic experience. We know that some firms can make their clients feel like they are simply part of an assembly line. So we made the decision that our Fort Worth family law firm would make the divorce process as smooth as possible for our clients, and give them individualized attention.

Similarly, some firms may leave you wondering, “Did I get ripped off for my uncontested divorce?” So we also made a decision to have the reputation as Fort Worth’s best divorce attorneys. That commitment has paid off: For four consecutive years, we’ve been named a Top Family Law Firm by Fort Worth Magazine. We are honored to be recognized for our service to Tarrant County and the surrounding communities and are committed to being recognized as award-winning family law attorneys in 2021. 

Fort Worth, TX 76110, Divorce & Family Law Attorneys

So when you hire us, you will know your legal costs in advance. You can also be confident that our fees will be lower than many other firms. And unlike some attorneys, we’re not interested in running up your bill. If there are things you can do to reduce your costs, we will tell you when you visit us at our 2812 Hemphill Street offices. 

Our family law matters approach reflects a core belief of our firm: We treat each client with respect and compassion. That doesn’t mean we won’t be firm with a client from time to time. But the only purpose is to serve you to the best of our ability. As Sean likes to say, “We do everything we can to help our clients with their case. And sometimes, we do everything we can to stop our clients from hurting their case.”

Nothing would make us more proud as to be known as your Texas family lawyers. Helping people is what we do, and we enjoy it tremendously. 

Texas Divorce Attorneys Who Care About YOU

Sean Lynch + Associates represent the family law needs of their community of Near Southside, TX 76110

Another of our core beliefs is that there should be a good reason behind everything we do in serving your legal issues. That’s why our Fort Worth family law office is located in a simple and tastefully updated 1920s Craftsman house located at 2812 Hemphill St., 76110. We will leave the expensive, high-rise glass buildings to other divorce lawyers in Fort Worth.

Once you’re at our office property, you won’t have to make a long trek from the parking garage to our office—you can just park in the driveway right out front. And inside, you won’t find big, expensive furniture piled up everywhere, just some tasteful, modest pieces. 

The other thing you won’t find in our family law office is dozens of attorneys, paralegals, and secretaries running around. It’s just the two of us and our wonderful legal assistant, Seryn Steffen. Occasionally, you might find a toddler here, too.

In short, we try to bring the same small-town feeling of the southside to our family law practice. In fact, we don’t even have a massive, expensive sign out front. As Stephanie likes to say, “Some divorce firms in Fort Worth want to make people feel impressed. We want to make them feel comfortable.”

Affordable Tarrant County Divorce Attorneys Near YOU

Our Near Southside location isn’t just convenient for us; it is also more convenient for you. We are easily accessible to almost anyone in Fort Worth. And because we serve clients throughout Tarrant County, our office is easy to get to for people outside of Cowtown. We’re just eight blocks off I-35. (We suggest either the Morningside or Berry street exit.)   

The next time you’re riding an elevator up 25 floors to see an expensive family law attorney, take a moment to consider how our location helps reduce our overhead costs. And how we can then pass those savings on to you. As Sean says, “You shouldn’t have to pay top dollar to get a top-shelf family law attorney.”

Sabelhaus+Lynch: Two of the Best Fort Worth, TX, Family Law Attorneys

Which brings us back to our new video. The footage was shot using a drone, which we thought was really cool—it’s not every day you get to see Fort Worth’s Near Southside from the air. In less than two minutes, you’ll get to see some of the prominent landmarks of our wonderful community, many of which you may already know.

More important, you’ll also get a sense of why so many of our clients consider us to be two of the best divorce lawyers in Fort Worth, TX. Sean Lynch + Associates are divorce lawyers who will provide you with experience and serve you with respect. We are award-winning Fort Worth divorce lawyers on the Near Southside—near you. 

Check out our new video, it’s only a couple of minutes long. And when you are ready to make changes, we are ready to fight for you. For a no-cost case consultation, contact our Fort Worth family firm today or call 817-668-5879. 

Why You Should Get a Prenup

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You may have heard in the news recently that Bill and Melinda Gates announced that they are getting a divorce after 27 years of marriage. The couple does not have a prenuptial agreement, even though they are worth about $146 billion. So you might be wondering: If Bill Gates doesn’t need a prenuptial agreement, do I? The answer generally is, yes. So here are a few tips on why you should get a prenup, and what can go wrong if you don’t have one.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement—or “prenup,” as they are usually called—is a legally binding contract people sign before getting married. In the event of divorce, the prenup will determine how the couple’s assets will be divided. These assets can include the house, land, retirement accounts, automobiles, and accumulated wealth.

The future spouses must finalize the prenup before they get married. The terms of the prenup become effective as soon as the two parties get married. In Texas, prenuptial agreements are usually referred to as premarital agreements.

Who Should Get a Prenup?

A family law attorney will answer your questions before you are married.
Whatever questions you have about a prenuptial agreement are worth being answered by an attorney answer.

You don’t have to be a millionaire to need a prenup in your marriage. Following are some of the conditions why it is beneficial for you to have a prenup:

  • Does either person have property?
  • If one partner is much wealthier than the other
  • If either spouse has an existing estate they wish to secure
  • Will either spouse be remarrying?
  • If either spouse has children
  • Does either spouse have significant debt?

You also will want to get a prenup if either spouse is remarrying. Read our blog on how a prenup shaped a successful second marriage. 

Of course, this is not a complete list. If you have any doubts about whether you should get a prenup, we encourage you to talk with a family law attorney. 

What Does a Prenuptial Agreement Usually Cover?

Prenuptial agreements typically focus on how the couple’s assets will be divided in the event of divorce. However, the agreement usually includes much more. Common issues include:

  • Allocation of property, including homes, buildings, business, and land in the event of divorce
  • Allocation of property, including homes, buildings, business, and land in the event one spouse should die
  • Right to use, sell, or lease property and possessions
  • Terms of alimony (also known as spousal support or maintenance
  • Rights to a life insurance policy benefit in the event of death
  • Issues regarding the writing of the will or setting up of a trust fund
  • Documents how household expenses will be paid
  • How existing debts will be handled
  • Clarifies how much each person can withdraw from the other person’s retirement savings
  • Any other issues of special interest to either future spouse

Prenups Can Address Alimony in the Event of a Divorce

A prenuptial agreement can protect both parties in a marriage.
Like all important conversations surrounding the marriage, a prenuptial agreement should be worth discussing to protect both parties.

In Texas, alimony is referred to as “spousal maintenance.” You may also hear it referred to as spousal support If the marriage ends, one of the two parties often is expected to pay money to the former partner. 

However, the law permits prospective spouses to address this topic in their prenup. For example, the couple can agree to a predetermined level of support. The prenup also can address cost-of-living adjustments or affirm that one partner will waive the right to receive alimony.

Alimony is an uncomfortable topic. Couples may not enjoy addressing all of these issues before the marriage. But it can save a lot of grief later in life, as well as a lot of lawyer fees. Spousal support is addressed in Section 8 of the Texas Family Code.

If You Have Children, the Prenup Should Cover Custody and Child Support

On the other hand, a prenup in Texas cannot address future child custody issues. The family law court makes these decisions. The Texas Family Code Section 153 states that the court must make custody decisions based on “the best interest of the child.” 

Thus, when a judge is making decisions about custody and how much child support should be paid, the prenup is not likely to be very important. The Texas Family Code Section 4 discusses premarital agreements.  

Many people are not aware that if one of the two parties has a change in financial circumstances after the divorce, the child support requirements can be changed. Read our blog on how to change a Texas court order for child access. 

How Can I Ensure My Prenup Is Enforceable in Texas?

Texas follows the guidelines of a document called the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA). This document helps courts determine when and how prenuptial agreements should be enforced. The UPAA also allows parties to choose which state’s marriage laws will apply in terms of division of property and spousal support

For the prenup to be valid, the agreement MUST be in writing. A verbal agreement is not acceptable. In addition, the prenup is valid only if both parties entered into it voluntarily. The terms of the prenup also cannot cause a future spouse to require government assistance.  

What Are Some Reasons Why A Prenup Would Be Unenforceable?

Don't expect an informal marriage contract to comply with Texas Family Law Code requirements.
A family law attorney can help craft an agreement that will hold up if challenged.

As noted, to be legally enforceable, both parties must sign a prenup voluntarily. In addition, the prenup may be invalidated if it is “unconscionable.” This means the court determines that the terms of the prenup are grossly unfair to one of the two parties.

A prenup may be ruled “unconscionable” if one of the spouses failed to provide the other spouse with an honest and accurate disclosure of all financial obligations and property owned. The court also may invalidate the prenup of one of the two future spouses who did not have adequate knowledge of the other spouse’s financial assets and obligations. Read our blog on what prevents a prenup from being enforced. 

Can I Change My Premarital Agreement After Marriage?

Yes. After getting married, the couple can create a new contract, called a postnuptial agreement. The document can modify or invalidate some or all of the terms of the initial contract. As before, the new agreement must be in writing, and both parties must voluntarily agree to sign it. 

A Prenup Can Protect Both Parties if Your Marriage Ends

When two people are planning a marriage, they don’t want to think about getting a divorce. Just remember that the statistics are not on our side. : Roughly 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce, and about 60 percent of second marriages. And just in case you are considering a third marriage, the divorce rate is about 70 percent. 

Without a prenup, the dissolution of your marriage can be stressful, messy, and expensive. On the other hand, having a prenup can give both of you peace of mind, potentially strengthening your marriage. And if you are one of those fortunate couples who never need your prenup, we will be very happy for you. 

Two of the Best Fort Worth Divorce Attorneys

Sean Lynch + Associates are ready to answer your prenuptial questions and protect your assets.

Let the award-winning family law attorneys at Sean Lynch + Associates law firm help you prepare your case. We have years of experience in Texas family law, serving parents and clients in Fort Worth, Arlington, and Tarrant County. We will use that experience to help you draft a prenuptial agreement that is fair, affordable, and easy to understand. Contact us today for a no-cost review and initial consultation, 817-668-5879.

Texas Child Support For Non-Custodial Parents

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If you are a non-custodial parent, it means that you don’t have physical custody of your children. However, you have legal possession and access rights, including visitation. You may also still have legal custody which means that you participate in important decisions regarding your children.

The court order will, in many cases, also require the noncustodial parent to pay child support to help to provide for the needs of the children, including any medical and dental costs. The amount of support to pay will be determined by Texas child support guidelines if parents cannot agree.

Noncustodial parents who wish to ask the court to change the amount of monthly child support payments can seek the support of an attorney to review the existing court orders and help you build your case.

How Courts Determine Child Support In Texas

Texas Family Court judges are guided by state law that determines a basic calculation for child support.
Texas Family Code is used to calculate child support.

The Texas Family Code states general guidelines that the judge will consider when calculating child support for the non-custodial parent. The court will consider the net resources of non-custodial parents. This is calculated by taking the total income received by a non-custodial parent and subtracting health insurance premiums and other court-ordered expenses for the child, federal income tax, retirement contributions, union dues and Social Security taxes.

The child support amount will then be calculated as a percentage of the net income calculated based on the number of children. Under the schedule stated in the Texas Family Code, the court may order the parent to make child support payments equal to the following:

  • 20% of net income for one child
  • 25% for two children
  • 30% for three children
  • 35% for four children
  • 40% for five children or more.

If you earn a net income over $7,500 per month, the court can also look to increase Texas child support by non-custodial parents.

Challenging Child Support Obligations

Texas Family Court judge questions attorney in courtroom
Judge questions attorney during a court session

All decisions made regarding child support obligations must be in the child’s best interests. If you want to request a review of the child support amounts you have to pay each month, you will need to show a material change in your child’s situation or your circumstances. Some examples include:

  • Financial situation of both parents
  • A significant change in employment income i.e. a job loss
  • Changing needs of the child
  • Health issues
  • Extraordinary healthcare or education expenses

Your lawyer can advise you on your rights as a non-custodial parent and plan your case.

Child Support For A Non-custodial Parent

Sean Lynch + Associates are ready to fight for your non-custodial rights.

Have questions about a non-custodial parent’s rights? Wish to challenge or modify existing child support court orders? Contact an experienced attorney. The family law experts at Sean Lynch + Associates have decades of experience in family law. Contact us today for a no-cost case review.

Father and child enjoying time together

How to Win Child Custody in Texas

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You’ve made the decision to get divorced. And now you are considering making another big decision: You want to have possession of the kids. We should say upfront, it is not easy for a mother or father to achieve this. But it can be done. So if this is something on your mind, here are some key things to know about how to win custody in Texas. 

What Does it Mean to Have Child Custody?

Texas Family Law seeks to provide the best future for children in every situation. Don't take for granted that you will gain custody of your child or have the visitation access you expect.
Texas Family Law seeks to provide the best future for children in every situation. Don’t take for granted that you will gain custody of your child or have the visitation access you expect.

Before explaining how to win child custody, we need to explain a few things about family law in the State of Texas.  

First, Texas has two types of custody, physical and legal. In a divorce, the court usually orders the children to live most or all of the time with one of the two parties. The person has physical custody, and the court calls him or her the custodial parent

But a parent can also have legal custody. A parent who has legal custody has the right to be involved in making important decisions for the child. For example, the parent has the right to make decisions about the children’s education, medical care, place of residence, and general welfare. 

What Does It Mean to Be a Conservator?

Changes to the family are confusing to children. Don't let your divorce issues become a source of stress for your children.
Changes to the family are confusing to children. Don’t let your divorce issues become a source of stress for your children.

Child custody cases in the State of Texas can be confusing because courts don’t use the term “custody.” Instead, they refer to conservatorship. The court calls the parent with whom the children live the custodial parent, or primary conservator. 

Judges call the other party the non-custodial parent, or possessory conservator. The judge often requires the non-custodial parent to pay child support. 

For example, when the divorced parents have equal decision-making authority, it means they have a joint managing conservatorship. You may also hear the term joining legal custody. And when a parent wants the exclusive right to make decisions, it means he or she is requesting to be named sole managing conservator. This may also be called sole custody, or your friends may casually mention it as “full custody.”

These terms matter because if you tell your family law attorney you want to get custody of your children, he or she is likely to ask, “What exactly do you mean?”

It is Not Easy to Win Child Custody in Texas

As family law attorneys will tell you, it is not easy to be named sole managing conservator. This is because of how Texas Courts operate. The Texas Family Code Section 153.002 states, “The best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.

Obviously, this sounds very appealing to a parent—we all want what is best for the children. However, courts are inclined to believe that the children’s “best interest” means having both parents deeply involved in their children’s lives. So if you are wanting to be named the sole managing conservator, it means you are asking the court to parent your ex from having any say in the lives of his or her children. 

Thus, while it is possible to win custody, it is not easy. It will be up to YOU to convince the court that this is in the best interest of your children. And it will not be enough to simply claim that your spouse is a “bad parent.” This is why if you think you will have a custody battle, we encourage you to hire a skilled family law attorney. 

What are the Grounds to Win Sole Custody in Texas?

The Texas Family Code, Chapter 161, Subchapter A defines the requirements for a parent to win custody in Texas. Here is a simplified list of reasons why the court may terminate the custody rights of the other parent: 

  • Was absent for at least three months
  • Knowingly engaged in conduct that endangered the well-being of the child, or knowingly allowed the child to be in a situation that endangered his or her well-being
  • Has abused drugs or alcohol
  • Has been convicted of a serious crime
  • Voluntarily and knowingly abandoned the woman, or failed to provide adequate support, during the time of her pregnancy and through the birth;
  • Is responsible for the child being born addicted to alcohol or an illegal drug;
  • Knowingly refused to comply with court orders
  • Failed to provide adequate support for the child over an extended time
  • Voluntarily abandoned the child with an expressed intent not to return;
  • Has had his or her parental rights terminated in another case

Generally speaking, if you want to win custody in Texas, you need to be able to show that your spouse or ex has put your children in serious physical or emotional danger. 

As we mentioned, this not a full explanation of the grounds for winning a custody case. Every situation is a little different, and it is not always easy to know the best interest of the child. This is another reason why if you are facing a custody battle, we highly recommend you consult a divorce attorney. 

It Is Time-consuming and Expensive to Win Custody

We have already stated that it is difficult to get full custody in Texas. It also can take time. Your spouse or ex is not likely to accept your decision and probably will hire a lawyer. While it is unlikely, a sole conservatorship case can last for years. 

Of course, the longer a case goes on, the more expensive it is. And keep in mind, family law is not the same as personal injury law. Thus, you should not expect the lawyer will only charge you only if he or she wins the case. 

We don’t want to discourage you. If you sincerely believe that terminating your ex’s parental rights is in the best interests of your children, then you should pursue it. We just want each Texas family to be aware of the potential issues that may arise. 

A Parent May Want to Consider Other Alternatives to Full Custody

How important is it to you to get full possession of your children? The court system usually is more open to alternative arrangements. For example, a parent could ask the court to limit the amount of access and visitation rights the ex has. Another option is to ask the court to deny your ex the right to make decisions on specific issues. 

The more things you are willing to negotiate, the more receptive a family law judge may be to your requests. You also may have more success convincing your spouse or ex to go along with your plan. Read our blog about how to change a Texas Court Order for Child Access.

Be aware that even if you win custody in Texas in your divorce, the judge may still award visitation rights to your ex. In addition, if the court gives you sole managing conservatorship, it is possible that your ex will not have to provide any child support. An experienced divorce lawyer can be very helpful in advising you on these matters. 

What if I am at Risk of Losing Custody in Texas?

A parent also must be prepared to consider the other side of the coin: what if your spouse or ex is trying to take the children away from you? Ideally, we all prefer to avoid conflict, and we always want to focus on the best interests of the child. 

But while it’s nice to have an amicable separation, your children are a different matter. If you decide to handle your own conservatorship case, you might make a mistake that gives your ex sole child custody. 

True, you can always request a court modification afterward. But the judge may well wonder why you accepted the custody arrangement in the first place. And if you file an appeal, it is going to cost you more time—and more money. Read our blog about changing a custody order without going to court.

In a Family Law Case, the Stakes are High

Sean Lynch + Associates understand the stress of custody questions and are ready to provide a no-cost case review to help.

Divorce can be stressful. If it involves a custody case, the divorce can be both stressful and contentious. 

At Sean Lynch + Associates, our lawyers are experts in the family code and very experienced in the complexities of a child custody cases. We will fight for your family in court, while always remaining sensitive to the concerns of protecting your child or children. We also offer transparent, affordable pricing, as well as a no-cost initial consultation. 

Your parental rights are important to you, and they are important to us, too. For a no-cost, initial consultation, contact our office or call 817-668-5879. You’ll be happy with your decision to consult with our award-winning Tarrant County divorce attorneys.