How Is Child Custody and Child Support Determined?

Issues of child custody and visitation (referred to under Texas law as conservatorship and possession) and child support are often contentious, but they do not need to be. At Martinez Legal, we assist parents in establishing their own agreements. If that is not possible, we will go to court to fight for our client’s rights.

CONSERVATORSHIP AND POSSESSION

The court encourages the parties to put together their own parenting plan. If they cannot do this, the court will make its own order after a hearing where both parties present evidence.

Conservatorship: The court will look at:

  • Which parent has been the primary caregiver?
  • Which parent takes the children to school?
  • Which parent takes the children to the doctor or dentist?
  • Which parent is with the children most of the time?

Generally, the person that does all those things will be given primary conservatorship, which means the children will spend most of their time living with that person as the primary parent. The other parent will have possession during certain specified time periods.

Joint conservatorship: Courts often favor joint conservatorship, which means both parents have equal decision-making authority. The possession schedule is separate. It is possible to be joint managing conservators and share time equally.

Possession. The parents can establish their own possession schedule. If they are unable to do this, the court will establish a standard possession schedule of time the children will spend with each parent.

Until your final agreement is in place, or there has been a court order for conservatorship and possession, we encourage you to document the time you spend with your children. Keep track of things like driving the children to doctor’s appointments, play dates, after-school sports or drama practice, etc.

No matter how conservatorship and possession are eventually decided, it is important that neither parent involve the children in the decision-making process. Children also should not be asked to deliver messages from one parent to the other.

CHILD SUPPORT

Child support orders generally involve the parent with primary conservatorship receiving support from the other parent. There are guidelines set in stone on how support is calculated based on the needs of the children and the income of both parents.

As with conservatorship and possession, the parents can establish their own child support agreement. As long as it involves how the children’s medical expenses will be paid, the court will likely sign off on it.

At Martinez Legal, P.C., we help you solve child custody and child support issues with your spouse in the best possible way. We work with you to make your own parenting plan.

Contact us for a consultation to see how we can help.