This post is designed to shed some light on common questions we get asked regarding divorce, custody, and child support. Read on…
1. Does Adultery Affect Who Gets Custody?
No. The court doesn’t see any automatic connection between being unfaithful to one’s spouse and being a good parent, unless it can be proven that the unfaithful spouse’s conduct had a direct negative effect on the child’s physical, psychological or emotional well-being.
2. Can The Kids Choose Which Parent They Want To Live With?
Yes and No. The court will consider a child’s wish if the child is 12 or older. However, the judge is not required to follow the child’s preferences. What a child wants is only one of several criteria the court considers. Children can be impressionable, are sometimes coached by a parent, go through phases, and often prefer the parent who disciplines them the least. The court is aware of all these tendencies.
3. Are Overtime, Bonuses, and Commissions Included in Calculating Child Support?
Yes. Child support is based on net income from ALL sources. This includes, overtime, bonuses etc., but does not include deductions like taxes and amounts the non-custodial parent is paying for the child’s medical insurance. The non-custodial parent will also get a break if paying child support for a different child under other child support orders.
4. Must I Still Pay Child Support When Being Denied Access To My Child?
Yes. Child support is for the child, not the other parent. The child must continue to get this support regardless of the custodial parent’s actions. A lawsuit to set court orders on visitation, or a motion for enforcement of existing court orders can be used to address the denial of access.
5. Does Child Support Include Day Care, Extracurricular, or Activity Expenses?
No. Unless the parties agree, these are not normally included. There are statutory guidelines for calculating the reasonable amount of child support. Medical support is also required to be provided. Payments toward school incidentals, soccer, karate, music lessons, etc., are discretionary and in addition to statutory child support.
6. Do We Have To Be Separated Before We Can File for Divorce?
No. Texas doesn’t even have specific provisions for legal separation. Either party can file for divorce anytime and for any reason.
7. Does Someone Have to Move Out Once the Divorce is Filed?
No. Unless the parties agree, or a court order grants exclusive possession of the home to one spouse, no move out is necessary. Even if title to the house is in one spouse’s name, both parties have the same marital right to live in the house.
8. Do I Lose Health Insurance Coverage After the Divorce?
Yes and No. If one spouse is covered under the other spouse’s health insurance coverage, the terms of the insurance policy require the coverage to terminate upon divorce. The ex-spouse has the option to obtain an extension of the coverage under COBRA (federal law) for up to 3 years.
Hope you found these questions and answers informative. Feel free to submit your questions to us via email and we will feature those questions in our future Q & A blog posts.