Child Custody Lawyers serving Central Texas
A child custody lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm knows just how difficult and exhausting these cases can be. Our lawyers understand that when children are involved emotions run high. When it comes to determining custody, child support and visitation rights, you will be focused on ensuring that your children’s best interests are the first priority—and so will our firm. It is an emotional situation that can be handled with the assistance of a family law attorney from our firm. Our Child Support Lawyers can help you make modifications if your financial situation changes or enforce current orders. A Carlson Law Firm custody attorney considers many factors that are part of a child custody case and the family’s previous lifestyle to try and develop a plan that makes sense.
Our Child Support and Child Custody Lawyers serve families in Bell, Coryell, Milam, Lampasas, Williamson, Hays, Travis, Bastrop, and Burnet counties. The Carlson Law Firm has more than 40 years of experience representing Texans through their time of need. If you are dealing with family law concerns, contact our Child Custody and Child Support Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.
Hiring a Qualified Child Custody Lawyer
According to a 2018 study from Pew, about 24 million U.S. children with an unmarried parent. It is important to understand the vast importance of fighting for you and your child’s rights in this situation. If you and your child’s other parent are not able to arrive at an agreeable compromise, the judge will make a decision based on his or her outside opinion of the situation. Our firm advises that you make sure to take every effort to protect your interests. A custody lawyer can safeguard your rights and help you obtain child custody if that is in the best interest of your child.
Types of Child Custody
If you are trying to develop a parenting plan without having to involve the court to a large degree, you will want to familiarize yourself and your near ex-spouse with the different types of child custody. Legal custody is the right and responsibility to make large decisions considering the child’s well being and future. This includes decisions regarding religion, education and other large factors. Physical custody determines where the child will actually be living. This parent will be making decisions concerning everyday life. Generally, it is decided that joint custody is the best option since both parents will then be able to be part of the child’s life.
Child Custody Modifications
Post-judgment child custody modifications can occur for a variety of reasons. However, there are two basic reasons that you may be seeking a child custody modification.
- One of the parents has violated a court order; or
- One or both parents allege changed circumstances.
Both the primary and custodial parents have the right to bring a motion to modify a child custody order. The burden is on the parent who brings the motion to present compelling enough evidence to prove that the modification is warranted. When a parent shows a disregard for the child’s best interests, it may warrant a change of custody. A qualified Child Custody Lawyer can help you prove how the other parent’s behavior is harming the child, thus warranting a change of custody.
Reasons for Child Custody Modifications
Custody modifications can be a lengthy process. In Texas, it is required that both parents appear before the judge to modify a court order. Parents seeking a modification must prove the following:
A child is 12 years old and wishes to change the primary caregiver; or
There has been a change in circumstances that is material and substantial; and
The changes proposed will be in the child’s best interests.
In cases where a child is under 12 or does not want to change their primary caregiver, orders cannot be modified unless the change in circumstances has been material and substantial. Reasons Texas courts may consider modifying child custody include the following:
- Changes in marital status of the parents
- Medical conditions
- Job relocations
- Abuse or neglect of the child by either parent
- Drug or alcohol abuse
No matter the reason, a court will only order child custody modifications if it is in the best interest of the child. If your child’s circumstances have changed, a Carlson Law Firm Child Custody Lawyer can help you fight for your child’s best interests. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Determining Child Support
There are many factors that are taken into consideration by the court when pursuing child support calculations. The court will determine the income of both parents, including extra bonuses, income of businesses owned by either parent, number of children in the family, cost of daycare and other expenses for the child and health care insurance prices. At The Carlson Law Firm, we can help you achieve a successful verdict to your situation. Other personal circumstances can occur depending on child custody and other issues. Modifications can also occur in the future if that becomes necessary.
There are times when a divorcing couple cannot arrive at an agreement by themselves. There are other times when a child support agreement is not being followed, which is an issue of non-compliance. In these situations, an attorney from our firm can get involved to ensure that you and your child’s rights are being regarded. It is important to seek the help of one of our lawyers from The Carlson Law Firm for the reason that we can pursue actions to make sure this situation is not repeated.
A Child Support Lawyer to Advocate For Your Children
A Child Support Lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm understands how contentious determining financial responsibility can be. Both of a child’s parents have a responsibility to provide some financial support toward the child until they become an adult. Any parent who is not the primary conservator must pay child support to cover a child’s needs such as:
- Health insurance
- Dental insurance
As long as a child is not being neglected, the parent who receives child support has the discretion to use the money as he or she sees fit. Parents are responsible for paying child support even if they don’t have visitation rights. Similarly, a parent cannot withhold visitation if they are not receiving child support.
How long will I pay Child Support?
Typically, parents will pay child support until a child turn 18 or graduates high school. If a child enlists in the military at 18 without completing high school, marries or attains legal emancipation, child support may also cease. However, there are circumstances where courts may extend child support payments. For example, parents of disabled children may be able to continue receiving child support payments. Texas follows the following percentage guidelines to determine child support:
- 1 child: 20% of monthly earnings, maximum of $1,710
- 2 children: 25% of monthly earnings, maximum of $2,137.50
- 3 children: 30% of monthly earnings, maximum of $2,565
- 4 children: 35% of monthly earnings, maximum of $3,097.50
- 5 children: 40% of monthly earnings, maximum of $3,420
- 6 children or more: no less than 40% of monthly earnings
While the formula above is used to figure out child support payments, your support may be based on your child’s needs. Contacting a knowledgable Child Support Lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm is the first step toward assessing your situation and ensuring your child has the support they need.
Defending Visitation Rights
There are few topics as important and difficult to discuss in a divorce as visitation. It should not be ignored or considered as a lenient topic. Each member of a divorce must realize that it is important and does not have to be granted. Parents who are not given physical custody of the child are typically entitled to visitation rights, but some circumstances can restrict this. Another important aspect to remember is that time should not be wasted when it comes to ensuring a fair and workable visitation schedule.
Considering the Child's Best Interest
The most important consideration to be made in this factor and any other decision concerning children is their best interest. In many cases, the most ideal situation is joint custody. It is typically seen that children benefit the most from consistent time spent with both parents. A divorce inevitably separates families and causes distress. This, however, should not wreck the relationship that parents have with their children. The children should spend as much time with each parent as possible, in most situations. At The Carlson Law Firm, our Texas visitation attorneys pursue whatever is in the best interest of the child. We seek to defend your rights and protect all involved.
Why Choose a Board-Certified Family Law Attorney?
According to the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, there are more than 90,000 licensed attorneys in Texas while only 7,150 of them have earned the title of “specialist” in their particular area of the law. That is less than 10% of attorneys in the state of Texas. The Texas Board of Legal Specialization recognizes 22 practice areas that attorneys can specialize in, one of them being Personal Injury Trial Law. Of the 7,150 Board Certified Attorneys in Texas, less than 900 of them are certified in Family Law. This means that only around 11% of Texas attorneys are considered Board Certified Specialists in this area of the law. One of those attorneys is on staff at our firm.
The Texas Board of Legalization offers Board Certification in order to distinguish those attorneys who have exemplified superior skills and knowledge in their field. A Board Certification is a mark of excellence that sets these attorneys apart from the rest. It is not only extremely difficult to pass the test to become Board Certified in Family Law, but these attorneys must also remain involved in the Family Law field and obtain periodic reviews from peers in that field. The process is rigorous, but the results are worthwhile. Hiring a Board Certified Family Law Lawyer can make the difference between the success or failure of your case.
Contact a Child Custody Lawyer
No matter if one or both parents are military or civilians, our experienced child custody and support attorneys are here to take your call at 800-359-5690 or contact us online today.
The Best Child Custody Lawyer and Child Support Attorney For You
Child custody is an already complicated matter, but deciding who the best attorney to advocate for you and your children can add to the stress of your situation. Consultations are free and confidential. Discuss payment options with your attorney during your consultation.
Meet Our Family Law Attorneys
The Carlson Law Firm handles divorces in Bell, Coryell, Milam, Lampasas, Williamson, Hays, Travis, Bastrop, and Burnet Counties. Our family law attorneys have the resources and know-how to get the best resolution for you and your children.
Our attorneys are offering free virtual consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Do not put your needs on hold. Contact us for a confidential consultation. If you are in Killeen, Temple, Round Rock, Austin or surrounding areas, our child custody and child support lawyers are here and they are ready to help
Child Custody FAQs
Can I modify out-of-state child custody orders in Texas?
This depends on some very specific facts. Generally, jurisdiction for a case follows the residence of the child, but please schedule a free consultation so a child custody lawyer can accurately assess your case.
My prior custody orders are from a different county than where the children reside now, can I move them?
This depends on some very specific facts. Please schedule a free consultation so we can accurately assess your case.
I’ve heard that Texas favors mothers/veterans/rich parents/working parents/grandparents. Is this true?
There are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings about courts “favoring” certain parents over other parents. This is not true. Generally, the court decides cases based on the best interests of the child. For this reason, it is important to have an experienced professional who understands the Texas Family Code handling your case. The Carlson Law Firm’s compassionate custody lawyers represent parents from a wide variety of backgrounds and would be happy to meet with you to discuss the specifics of your case.
Why can’t my kids just tell the Judge who they want to live with?
Generally, the rule is the children must be at least 12 years old to speak with the Judge. However, a Judge is not necessarily bound to rule in accordance with the child’s preference. Furthermore, even if the child is 12 or older, it may not be a good idea to have the child speak with the Judge. It is important to consider the maturity of the child and the potential psychological effects of involving the child in your custody dispute. There are also other methods to demonstrate the child’s preferences or concerns to the Judge. Since each case is different, we can help you determine what is the best method in your particular case.
Child Support FAQs
Child support was ordered by the Court, now what?
Once a court order is signed for child support, usually a final decree of divorce or a custody order, the order and other required paperwork is sent to the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) to set up an account for the child support to be paid into and dispersed from. The SDU will send the parties paperwork about the child support account, online access, and direct deposit information.
When will I receive child support after it has been ordered?
Child support is due beginning on the day in the court order, but actually receiving the support can take some time. An income withholding order (IWO) is signed by the Judge, and then sent out by the Court to the employer for the employer to garnish wages and pay child support. This process can take six weeks or longer to set up. You can help speed up some of that process by setting up an account online through the Texas Attorney General’s parent portal.
The child support office considers payments made on or before the last day of the month timely in most cases. If wage garnishment hasn’t started, the obligor is still responsible for the payment due. If the full amount of child support due isn’t garnished, the obligor is still responsible for the full payment.
How do I get credit for direct payments?
If child support is paid directly, the obligee will have to sign an affidavit confirming the direct payments for the obligor to get credit. Under some temporary orders child support is paid directly. Even if the person paying support doesn’t have their wages garnished, usually because they are self-employed, the child support payments still are paid into the SDU for accounting purposes.
How do I stop child support?
Once a final court order is entered, child support must be paid through the SDU. This responsibility will continue until the obligation is terminated by the terms of the court order or a new order by the court. Parties cannot simply agree that the obligor does not have to pay support anymore. The only way an obligor can be relieved of the responsibility to pay child support is by a court order terminating the obligation (not just the withholding). It is possible for the order to be by agreement, but it must be a court order for the obligation to be terminated.
Common child support terminology
- Obligor – person paying child support
- Obligee – Person receiving child support
- State Disbursement Unit – office in San Antonio that manages the child support accounts
- AG – Texas Attorney General’s Office
- CP – Custodial parent or whom the children live with primarily
- NCP – Non-custodial parent, the parent who has a possession schedule for access
- IWO – Additional court order to garnish wages
There's a Carlson Law Firm Near You
The Carlson Law Firm’s Child Custody and Child Support Lawyers take cases in Bell, Coryell, Milam, Lampasas, Williamson, Hays, Travis, Bastrop, and Burnet Counties. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.