We work together with you to ensure you and your children’s safety and emotional well-being, no matter how intense your conflict may be. Whether an agreement or settlement is reached inside or outside of court, we stand ready to leverage your legal position and rights in a manner that is tactical, effectual, and realizes your right end game.
Our team of experienced family law attorneys will you navigate through the many complex issues and decisions inherent in child custody matters, such as:
Contested Child Support
The Family Code contains rules for determining how much child support a parent should pay. The “guidelines” are just that, and while they are generally adhered to, many family situations present scenarios that would require a court to deviate from those guidelines. The monthly child support payment called for under the guidelines is expressed as a percentage of the average monthly net resources of the obligor parent, with the percentage increasing with the number of children.
However, there are often special issues that require deviation from guideline support, such as the obligor’s resources or other children, or anticipated expenses related to medical or other special needs of the child or children involved. Because each family circumstance varies, the amount of child support will ultimately be determined and tailored to the needs of each child and the circumstances of the parties.
Geographical restrictions and relocations
When one parent moves or wishes to move with the child a far distance from the other parent, legal and personal consequences can be severe for all involved. When a move or relocation is not agreed upon, it is necessary for the court to examine the facts of each case and decide on any geographical restriction or relocation of a party while also taking into consideration the child’s or children’s best interests and all overlapping circumstances.
Bollier Ciccone LLP will help guide you through all aspects of the difficult and often complex legal challenges that can arise when one parent wants to move with a child. These issues may arise for the first time in a divorce proceeding, or subsequently in a modification action due to a changed circumstance of one of the parties, such as a desirable career opportunity. If your case involves a move matter – such as a relocation or geographical restriction – we know the specific court decisions in your particular jurisdiction and can articulate your chances of success and fortify your legal position to prevail.
Under Texas law, a man may be presumed to be the father of a child. However, in a situation where a presumption of paternity exists, the presumption may be rebutted. In some situations, the question of paternity must be litigated in court and genetic testing could be required. The parents of a child could also sign an acknowledgment of paternity to establish the father’s paternity. Lawsuits involving paternity may be necessary to determine parental rights, child custody, or child support.
Texas has also passed laws regarding mistaken paternity, where a man has either acknowledged paternity or has been determined by a court to be a child’s father, but in fact not the biological father of the child and did not know so at the time. There are time limits on filing a suit of mistaken paternity and therefore, time may be of the essence in your matter.
A grandparent’s access to or custody of a child or children is not granted freely and is often very difficult to achieve. Texas has passed several laws limiting the rights of grandparents to special circumstances. In cases involving a grandparent getting custody of a child, the Texas Family Code provides that a grandparent can file a lawsuit if he or she can show that custody is necessary because the child’s present circumstances would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development.
Cases involving visitation rights with a grandchild are similarly difficult. In Texas, a grandparent must show that the parent does not have actual or court-ordered possession of the child and the parent is unavailable due to incarceration, death, or legal incompetence. The grandparent must also show that he or she is being denied access completely to the child and the denial results in significant impairment to the grandchild’s physical health or emotional well-being.
Conservatorship and possession and access
Conservatorship of a child is a concept in Texas law determining how parents will make decisions and how they are assigned duties on behalf of their child, including which parent will determine the child’s primary residence. Possession and access relates to the schedule of time and access that parents will have with their children.
The Texas Standard Possession Order in divorce provides a default schedule for the division of physical custody, or possession and access schedule between the parents. The Standard Possession Order is a guideline for possession and access and is presumed to be in the best interest of children ages three and over.
In our experience, many divorcing parents determine it is best for the child to agree to a custom possession and access schedule that varies from the Standard Possession Order, and which is specific to the needs of the child, the family dynamic, and circumstances. Our firm will help you identify the specific needs of your family and child to create a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the child and fits the needs of your family. We take into consideration all relevant factors, which could include:
- Ages of the children
- Parents’ travel and/or work schedules
- Children’s activities
- Customs and religion
- Geographical location of the parties