Who gets primary or in legal terms who gets the “right to determine domicile” of the children is a frequent issue that arises in my practice. Upon final judgment in a divorce or a suit between parents, most parental rights, duties and responsibilities are given to each parent as “independent rights”. In other words, either parent may take action under that right without the approval of the other parent. However, the granting some of the rights “exclusively” to one parent is not unusual.
Typically the three rights one parent wants exclusively are:
- The right to determine domicile or in laymen terms primary custody of the child. The exclusive right to determine domicile or primary custody means the child lives with that parent on a regular basis and the other parent has visitation rights;
- The exclusive right to give receipt for and receive child support. That exclusive right typically goes to the parent who gets the exclusive right to determine domicile or primary custody;
- The exclusive right to obtain medical services for the child. Sometimes there’s a pretty large divide between the parents as to when and for what needs a child requires medical attention. Again, typically, if that becomes an issue, that exclusive right goes to the parent who gets the exclusive right to determine domicile or primary custody. Be aware, the parties may agree upon these issues however, absent agreement, court will rule on these issues.
Common issues regarding child support are who pays support, how much, and can we agree to no child support. The amount of child support is statutory: 20% of the obligor’s net resources for one child; 25% for 2 children; 30% for 3 children; 35% for 4 children; 40% for 5 children; and, 6+ children, not less than the amount for 5 children.
Additionally, a regular question is can the parents agree to $00.00 child support. Some courts will sign off on and order with no child support if there is an agreement between the parents that the time with the child will be split approximately 50% each. However, some judges will not authorize such an agreement, and will always require some amount of child support.
Are There Different Kinds Of Child Custody In Texas?
There are different types of custody in Texas. Most common is the parents are appointed joint managing conservators. Less common is that one parent is appointed sole managing conservator. There is a presumption in Texas that a parent should be appointed a managing conservator (joint or sole). That is why joint managing conservators is most common. If a party is appointed a sole managing conservator, they have the following rights exclusively:
- The right to designate primary residence of the child.
- The right to consent to medical, dental and surgical treatment involving an invasive procedures.
- The right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatments.
- The right to receive and give receipt for, periodic payments for the support of the child.
- The right to represent a child in legal action.
- The right to consent to marriage and enlistment in the armed forces of the United States.
- The right to make decisions concerning the child’s education.
- The right the services and earnings of the child.
- The right act as an agent, a child in relation to the child’s estate.
How Do The Courts Determine Visitation Schedules In Texas?
There is a Standard Possession Order in the Texas Family Code. However, as long as neither parent has committed family violence the courts will approve any visitation schedule agreed upon by the parties. Generally, it’s smarter to agree to and incorporate in the Final Decree of Divorce the Standard Possession from the Texas statutes. Then from a practical standpoint, the parties may agree to any visitation schedule they want. If they disagree, the fallback position is the Standard Possession Order. The negative side of placing a non-Standard Possession Order in the divorce decree is if circumstances change requiring the visitation schedule to change and the parties don’t agree on new a visitation schedule, then the parties have to go back to court on a Motion to modify the divorce decree to change the visitation schedule. For more information on Child Custody and Support Issues, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling [number type=”1″] today.