My ex-husband and I divorced in 2011. Since then, he’s been paying child support. Six months ago, he was promoted and received a large salary increase. Can I force him to pay more in child support now?

The simple answer is yes.

However, according to the office of the Attorney General for the state of Texas, Ken Paxton, the amount of child support your ex-husband was ordered to pay can only be changed if you obtain a new court order.  Informal agreements between custodial and noncustodial parents do not change the court-ordered child support amount.

Child support orders can be modified through a court hearing or through the Child Support Review Process (CSRP).  The CSRP is typically faster than scheduling a court hearing and it works best only when both parents can agree on the order, which is rarely.  Legal counsel offered by a Houston child custody law firm such as LaFour Law could best help you make this determination.

If you would like to have your order modified through CSRP, apply online to the Office of the Texas Attorney General, or contact the regional child support office for the county where you live.  If you do not want to apply online, you may complete a request to have a paper copy of the application form mailed to you.  This application establishes the Texas Attorney General’s authority over your case.  You will have to provide certain information, including previous child support orders, your contact information and your Social Security number.

It is important to note that the court cannot change support obligations retroactively to a past date.  It can only change future support obligations.  If you need a change, you must file your petition immediately and make sure it is served on the other person.  Even though it has been six months or more since your husband’s income increased, you will not be entitled to retroactive payments based on that increased income.  Thus, it is important that you seek out a Houston child custody lawyer today.

The process to modify a current court order affecting child support begins with a petition to the court asking for modification.  You will probably need the assistance of a lawyer to file a proper petition.  There are several requirements that must be met by the petition and you will need to make sure the petition is properly served to your husband.

After the petition is filed and served, the court can enter temporary orders if properly requested.  If your husband agrees to the modification, the process can be completed rather quickly.  However, if he wants to contest the modification, then the court will have to schedule the case for trial.  Contact one of our Houston child custody attorneys at LaFour Law today and obtain the legal counsel you need to ensure that you and your children are represented to the best degree possible.

I’m a successful business owner in Houston filing for divorce because my wife was unfaithful. I want to protect my business from her—how can I do this?

You most likely will benefit with the assistance of legal counsel from a Houston divorce law firm such as LaFour law—particularly since you have a business to protect.  An experienced Houston divorce attorney can assist you through the highly emotional and stressful experience of a divorce.

Texas allows people to file either a fault or a no-fault divorce.  If you file a fault divorce claiming that your wife is responsible for ruining the marriage, you will most likely have to prove that in a court of law.  These types of divorces are almost always much more expensive than a no-fault divorce.

Filing a fault divorce may affect the spousal support you may be required to pay. However, the fact that your wife was unfaithful to you is likely to have very little bearing on the outcome of your case as it applies to the distribution of assets.

Texas is a community property state.  Texas law defines community property as all of the property that either spouse acquired during the marriage except separate property. Separate property is anything one spouse owned prior to the marriage, property inherited by only one spouse, and recoveries for personal injuries sustained by only one spouse, except for the portion of the award intended to compensate for lost earnings during the marriage.

Thus, in your case, many of the key legal issues surrounding your case center on the following circumstances:

1) Did you own your business prior to the marriage?  This, in and of itself does not necessarily qualify your business as separate property.  For example, if during your marriage your wife contributed to the growth of this business in just about any way—directly or indirectly—she is likely to be entitled to some of its assets.

2) How is your business structured?  If your business is structured as a limited liability company, and if the assets such as real estate and bank accounts are titled in the LLC, they could be shielded from consideration as personal assets in a divorce proceeding—particularly if the LLC was created prior to the marriage.  If your business is set up as a c or s corporation and is registered with the state and has a separate tax ID number and particularly if it was created prior to the marriage is another consideration.  Your business could be set up as a trust—a separate legal entity from you.  Trusts have their own federal tax number.

3) Is a prenuptial agreement in place?  It may be that you executed a premarital agreement with your wife prior to your marriage.  If this is the case, depending upon the wording of the agreement, your business may be protected.

Call an experienced Houston divorce lawyer today from LaFour Law.  We will do all we can to see that you obtain a fair and just settlement

In Texas, if parents have “shared custody” of the children after a divorce, would either parent pay child support?

In most cases, the answer is yes.  It could be that either parent would be required to pay child support.  Whether or not a parent has to pay child support depends on what the court determines to be in the best interests of the child, not on the type of custody granted by the court.

Furthermore, courts do not define shared or joint custody to mean that each parent has the child fifty percent of the time.  The non-custodial parent who has less physical possession of the children is generally required to pay financial child support to the primary custodial parent for the benefit of the children.

The legislature by statute has adopted Child Support Guidelines based on percentages of income according to number of children.  For example, if the net monthly income of the parent is less than $8,550, these guidelines require 20% of net resources for one child, 25% of net resources for two children, 30% for three children, etc. in increments of 5% for each additional child.  Experienced Houston child custody attorneys, such as those at LaFour Law, can assist you in making a child support amount determination based on your particular case that the court will be likely to support.

“Shared custody” in Texas falls under the designation of “Joint Managing Conservatorship” and it refers more to the rights and duties of the parents as opposed to physical possession of the children.

These rights that may be shared in a joint managing conservatorship include the right to

  • Designate the primary residence for the child
  • Consent to medical, dental and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures and psychiatric and psychological treatment
  • Receive and give receipt for periodic payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse these funds for the benefit of the child
  • Represent the child in legal action and make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child
  • Consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the USA
  • Make decisions concerning the child’s education
  • Right to the services and earnings of the child
  • Act as an agent of the child in relations to the child’s estate if the child’s action is required by a state, the USA or a foreign government (except in cases where a guardian of the child’s estate or a guardian ad litem has been appointed for a child)

Schedule an appointment today with LaFour Law, a Houston child custody law firm, today to discuss questions you may have regarding child support payments that you may be required to pay.

I wish to file for divorce in Houston from my husband. What is the process for doing so and how long will it take?

Few divorces, even those that do not involve children under the age of 18, are ever simple. It is wise to consult an attorney prior to beginning any divorce proceedings. Most likely you will need the legal counsel offered by a Houston divorce law firm such as LaFour Law.  A Houston divorce attorney, such as one from LaFour Law, knows the steps to take to ensure that you have an accurate accounting of family finances and that you will obtain the settlement you deserve.

In Texas, a divorce cannot be final for at least 60 days after the Original Petition for Divorce has been filed.  If you and your husband are not in agreement, it typically takes from six months to one year to obtain a final decree of divorce.

Residency Requirements must be met:  One of the spouses must meet residency requirements of having lived in Texas at least six months prior to filing and one of the spouses must have lived in the county where the divorce is being filed for at least 90 days.

PROCESS FOR OBTAINING A DIVORCE IN TEXAS

Keep in mind there are many variances possible in this process; however the steps do proceed in the following order.

Step One: You must file an Original Petition for Divorce with the court and then have the papers served on your husband.  Note:  At the time you file, you can also issue a Temporary Restraining Order requiring that no assets disappear before being divided by the court and requiring that the spouses act civilly toward each other.  The court must schedule a hearing within 14 days if you file this restraining order.

Step Two: If no restraining order is filed, your husband will have 20 days plus the next following Monday to file an Answer.  This document acknowledges your husband’s receipt of the petition for divorce and states his agreement or disagreement with the petition.

Step Three: Usually what follows here is discovery—a process by which your lawyer and your husband’s lawyer exchange information and documents.

Step Four:  You and your husband discuss settlement either directly or with the help of attorneys or mediators.  Then an Agreed Decree of Divorce is prepared which contains all the terms of the agreement.  You and your husband sign it and eventually the judge also will.

Note:  If you and your husband are not able to agree on all the issues in the case, a trial date will be set.  If mediation fails, your case goes to trial.  At the end of the trial your attorney will prepare a Final Decree of Divorce to present to the judge for signature.  This document is binding on both you and your husband going forward.

Call LaFour Law today and obtain an experienced Houston divorce lawyer.  Let us help you make sure that you get the settlement you deserve