Have you seen or heard the ads for men going through divorce? I’ve seen and heard quite a few ads directed at men who are going through divorce. It is interesting and a bit odd to me, because not all men have the same concerns any more than all people going through a divorce have the same concerns. In my experience, it is more likely that a Dad in divorce will have the same concerns as other Dads.
I see some common threads for Dads when I meet with them. Some of the questions come up in our initial consultation and others are asked more as we move into the finer points of the divorce process. Here are three of the questions that I see often in my office.
1) How often will I get to see my kids? I have had very few, if any, dads in divorce who did not want to see their kids after the divorce. The Texas Family Code has two things that I like to point out: 1) If you and Mom can agree to a schedule that works for you – make it work. The Standard Possession Schedule applies if you can’t agree to something else. 2) On the chance that you can’t agree or things will change, the Standard Possession Schedule includes options to extend the weekends quite a bit from Thursday through Monday morning. You can make your choices before your divorce is final and your choices will be in your divorce decree.
2) How is child support determined? Child support is based on your net monthly income. The Family Code includes a list of permitted deductions from your paycheck to allow us to figure out your monthly income and a chart. And, the amount that you pay for health insurance for your children is credited when we are figuring out that monthly income.
3) If I’m paying child support and my income changes, either increases or decreases, how is child support changed? This question is a little more tricky and your situation should probably be talked over with a lawyer if you are in this spot. If your income increases, your child support can change either by a motion filed by your ex, or by the Office of the Attorney General. Your child support can increase if three years has passed and the Office of the Attorney General asks you to provide proof of your current income. If your income decreases, this can raise the question of why your income decreased and was it purposely. If you are underemployed or unemployed to avoid child support, the Court will likely take some steps to set an appropriate child support and you may face other consequences. If your income decreases for other reasons, child support can be modified by a motion in court.