Factors that Determine Child Support

Once you pass the emotional and life-changing dynamics that are part of preparing for divorce, you can focus on re-weaving the fabric of your family. Living arrangements may change, but loving your children is unconditional; they need to feel that especially at this time.

Child Support in Texas

Your Houston child support attorney will help you create the terms and conditions for restructuring your family; he or she may call it a “parenting plan.” The parent who has the children the majority of time is the “custodial parent,” and the other parent is obligated to pay child support. Parents can agree to almost any amount of child support, but the basic State of Texas child support guidelines (for net resources under $8,550/month) are 20% of net resources for one child and an increase of five percent for additional children; for 6 or more children, child support is not less than 40% of net resources.

Factors That Determine Child Support

In order to be “fair and impartial,” the judge is not allowed to consider the sex of either parent, the sex of the child(ren), nor the parents’ current marital status. Technically, child support is meant to cover housing, food, and clothing, but all of us know that raising a child involves much more expense than the cost of basic human needs. Some of the consideration factors your Houston child support attorney may present to the judge include:

  • Additional benefits (company car/housing, for example)
  • Anticipated time with the child
  • Child’s age/needs
  • Childcare expenses
  • Debts
  • Each parent’s ability to contribute to child support
  • Educational expenses
  • Health/medical insurance
  • Income from businesses/investments
  • Other children from previous relationships
  • Other paycheck deductions
  • Spousal support (alimony)
  • The noncustodial parent’s employment situation

In Texas, the Attorney General’s office handles unusual or difficult child custody situations, which can include:

  • Collecting/enforcing child support
  • Establishing paternity
  • Finding “deadbeat” or absent parents
  • Modifying child support/medical orders

It’s Not About You

It’s important to keep your spirits up and maintain good health during the stress of a divorce; not only for yourself, but to better care for your children. Consider asking your children to share their feelings and even create their own terms for their new family unit. They might create stipulations such as, “Ice cream every Friday,” but here’s what they truly need both of you to do:

  • Ask questions. Their answers aren’t nearly as important as the fact that you cared enough to ask.
  • Communicate directly with each other – don’t send messages back and forth between the children.
  • Don’t be jealous of each other. Children don’t want to be forced to “take sides.”

There’s no such thing as too much love when it comes to raising children. Your children need both parents. Diane Reul, Board Certified, Family Law – Texas Board of Legal Specialization, is a Houston child support attorney proficient in family law. Both parents, working together even during a divorce, is what your children want and need. That is ultimately, the best child support you can offer.

The Importance of Mediation and Your Lawyer’s Role

Mediation is a confidential settlement process where parties in dispute meet with a neutral person – the mediator – to try to find a resolution to areas of conflict. The mediator may meet with the people in conflict and/or their attorneys to understand each party’s goals for resolution. When an agreement has been reached, the mediator writes a legally binding document that outlines the terms of the settlement.

Benefits of Mediation

When you go to court, the court makes a decision and you are required to adhere to the court’s ruling. With mediation, you make decisions, not the court. The main advantage of mediation is that you control the outcome; you and the other party or parties can structure the settlement any way that is mutually acceptable. Mediation costs less than a trial and it often feels better. It’s more informal and can be a friendlier way to settle a disagreement.

The Value of Mediation

Creating your own resolution to a dispute through mediation is beneficial to both parties. You design your own terms and outline your resolution in such a way that (hopefully) all parties are comfortable with the decision.

  • You can be creative in ways to resolve the issue.
  • Everyone has all the time he or she needs to explain the situation; its causes and possible, agreeable resolutions.
  • Mediation can better preserve relationships, especially when it involves families.
  • Mediation lets you and the disputing party work together for a solution. Solutions are your shared goal; mediation can and should be the end to “the blame game.”

The Role of Your Houston Mediation Attorney

Taking your dispute to court is what you do if mediation doesn’t settle all issues. Here in Houston and throughout Texas, mediation is mandatory prior to divorce trials, so it’s important that you have an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced with the mediation process.

Divorce is seldom about two people; it can impact the lives of other family members for years to come, so you should seek professional assistance as you make what can be life-changing decisions. A mediation attorney in Houston who is certified in family law can help you make the long-term choices that are best for you, your spouse, and your children.

A Houston mediation attorney can explain what is legally advisable and possible so that the mediation resolution doesn’t put you at future risk. Your Houston mediation attorney can ensure you are “protected” during the process and the outcome of issue resolution.

Diane Reul, Board Certified, Family Law – Texas Board of Legal Specialization, is a mediation attorney in Houston who wants to help you through the mediation and – if needed – divorce. Her proficiency in family law is driven by compassion as well as experience. If you need conflict resolution or want to know what divorce options are best for you and your family, call (713) 622-3770 or contact her today. Tomorrow can be a better day.