Divorce, a legal termination of a marriage, is a very common phenomenon nowadays. With increasing number of people ending their relationships, each country follows separate laws and guidelines. The guidelines vary according to the type of partition opted for. One such type is divorce in Texas with children. To file for this type of case in Texas, one must be a Texas resident for six months and a county resident for 90 days. In addition, there is a 60-day waiting period after filing the petition and before a verdict is given.
According to the state’s Bureau of Vital Statistics, a steady number of 100,000 Texas divorces per year have been recorded over the last five years. Half of these involve dependent children, with an estimated 70,000 kids under the age of 18 affected by people parting ways. While seeking a marriage termination, if the couple comes to a mutual agreement and decides on issues related to the child, the case gets resolved easily. However, if the parents fail to agree, the court takes up the responsibility of solving the issue on their behalf. The court takes care of the emotional trauma that the kid can go through during this process. The major areas that must be addressed while ending a relationship with children are visitation, child custody and support.
Factors Taken into Consideration by the Court to the Best Interest of the Child:
- The child’s feelings and wishes, depending on his age and understanding
- The physical, emotional and educational needs
- The age, sex and background and any characteristics which the court considers relevant
- Any history of neglect or harm which the child may have suffered or is at risk of suffering
- How capable each of the parent is to meet the child’s needs
Child Custody in Texas
According to the Texas laws, if the parents cannot come to an agreement regarding the issues involving the kids, the court will establish the custody order at its discretion with the best interest of the child in mind. The divorcing parents are encouraged to go for a conservatorship, wherein the parental duties of the both the parents remain the same. But in case one of the parents does not qualify for such duties, the joint conservatorship will not be advised by Texas courts.
A child over twelve years of age may file a document with the court asking to have custody given to one of the parents chosen by that child.
Texas Child Visitation
The court allows one parent to provide a primary residence for the children, with reasonable visitation set in place for the non-custodial parent. A child over twelve years of age may give his preference to live with either, the mother or the father. The court will approve the same on several terms and conditions after looking at various factors.
Texas Child Support
Texas child support guidelines use the ‘percentage of income formula’, which calculates the support obligation as a percentage of the income of the non-custodial parent, who is obligated to support the child. This method simply applies a percentage to the income of the parent according to the number of kids requiring support. The norm is that 20 percent of the net income of the non-custodial parent must go for one child, which increases for additional kids.
Forms Required for a Divorce in Texas with Children
Couples with kids – if children are younger than 18 or have not graduated from high school have to necessarily fill and file the following forms for completing the action:
- Original Petition
- Petition Exhibit – Out of State Parents
- Waiver of Service
- Respondent’s Answer
- Final Decree
- Exhibit – Child Custody
- Exhibit – Child Support
- Exhibit – Child Support Withholding Order
- Exhibit – Child Visitation
- Exhibit – Family Information
- Exhibit – Medical Support
- Exhibit – Parent’s Rights and Duties
Child Support Amount
The parent has to pay certain amount as ordered by the court. This amount of support for their children may depend upon certain criteria such as:
- Number of Children
- For 1 child- 20% of their gross salary
- For 2 children- 25% of their gross salary
- For 3 children- 30% of their gross salary
- For 4 children- 35% of their gross salary
- For 5 children or more- More than 40% of their gross salary
- Health Insurance- The parents have to bear the yearly premium of the insurance policy and they will have to pay all the other expense that is not covered in the health insurance policy.
- Education Fees and other Expenses- This is not the compulsory expenses, but if ordered by the court, then the parent need to pay these expense.
A couple should work towards establishing a parenting agreement that will benefit the child. Texas divorce with kids look for such an option, where the parents try to come to an agreement or the court helps them to do so. To complete the process of divorce without any hassles, one should always consult an experienced lawyer. This will not only help complete the process smoothly by following the legal formalities, but will also provide best guidance in issues of child custody and support.