At Bollier Ciccone LLP, we feel it is our personal duty to aggressively advocate for you and your family, while remembering that divorce or separation often has a negative impact on the children. We will work together to ensure your children’s safety and emotional well-being, no matter how high conflict your matter may be, or whether a settlement is reached or litigation is necessary. Our team of experienced family law attorneys help you navigate the many complex issues in all matters involving children, including:
- Contested child support
- Possession and access
Although the Texas Family Code provides presumptions and guidance in these matters, it is imperative that you be informed of the many different options that exist for these issues and have the protection of an experienced team. Child custody disputes vary widely. Disagreements between parents range from subtle, narrow issues to complex and intense issues such as the fitness of a party to even act in a parental role or the preferences of a child
We address your unique circumstances with insightful, creative solutions to ensure the best outcome possible for your children.
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 who, with the percentage increasing with the number of children.
However, there are often special issues which require a 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 involved.
Each family circumstance is different and 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, whether to another state or internationally, legal and personal consequences can be severe for all involved. When a move or relocation is not agreed, it is necessary for a court to examine the facts of each case and make a determination on any geographical restriction or relocation of a party taking into consideration the child’s best interests and all circumstances.
These issues may arise for the first time in divorce, or subsequently in a modification due to a changed circumstance of one of the parties, such as a desirable career opportunity.
If your matter involves a move case- a relocation or geographical restriction- it is imperative that you are aware of the court decisions in your particular jurisdiction and that you have experienced and skillful legal counsel to guide you through obtaining your desired outcome. The experienced team of divorce attorneys at Bollier Ciccone LLP can help guide you through all aspects of the difficult legal issues which can arise when one parent wants to move with a child.
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 in order 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, therefore, time may be of the essence in your matter.
A grandparent’s access to or custody of the child 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 being incarcerated, dead or legally incompetent. The grandparent must also show that he or she is completely being denied access 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 the 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 for 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 advocates at Bollier Ciccone LLP can help to 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:
- The ages of the children
- The parents’ travel and/or work schedules
- The children’s activities
- Customs and religion
- The geographical location of the parties
Contact us today regarding your unique situation and how our experience and advocacy can assist you with your custody case.