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Katy Child Support LawyerIn many family law cases, child support can be a contentious issue. Both parents are required to provide the financial support necessary to meet their children's needs, but they may disagree over how much support should be paid or how the payments may be used. While a parent who receives child support may rely on these payments, the parent paying child support may face concerns about how their finances will be affected by these ongoing obligations. These matters can become even more complicated if circumstances change after a child support order is put in place. In these situations, parents may need to determine whether modifications to child support can be made, and they will need to understand the factors that can affect decisions in these cases.

Material and Substantial Changes in Circumstances

In general, child support orders can be modified if there has been a change in the lives of parents or children that is considered to be "material and substantial." These changes will usually need to involve major adjustments in living circumstances, income, or financial needs, and they may include:

  • Changes in employment or income - The loss of a job or other issues that affect the income a parent earns are some of the most common reasons why child support modifications are requested. If the parent paying support experiences a decrease in income, they may struggle to pay the required amount of support. While modifications may be made in these situations, courts may base support obligations on the income that a parent should be able to earn after reviewing their previous employment experience, education, and other factors. In some cases, child support obligations may be reduced temporarily until a parent can find work, and if they qualify for unemployment benefits, child support may be deducted from the amount they receive.


Fort Bend Family Law AttorneyThe divorce process can be difficult for everyone involved. The end of a marriage is likely to cause many strong emotions, which can lead to increased levels of conflict between spouses, as well as stress related to the financial issues and legal concerns that will need to be addressed. For couples who have children, divorce can become even more complex, since they will need to address concerns about child custody, child support, and other related issues. As parents get caught up in the legal procedures and the conflicts involved in the divorce process, they may fail to realize how much their children are being affected during this time. Fortunately, there are certain steps parents can take to make sure children's needs are being met both during the divorce process and in the years to come.

Tips for Making Divorce Less Stressful for Children

If you are looking to minimize the negative impact of your divorce on your children's well-being, you can do the following:

  • Avoid exposing children to conflict: Children can be negatively affected by arguments, tension, and other forms of conflict between their parents. You should do your best to avoid arguing in front of your children or making disparaging comments about the other parent. You will also want to avoid anything that would make your children feel as if they have to take sides in your divorce.


Fort Bend Child Custody LawyerIn a Texas child custody or divorce case, conservators are the adults who make decisions about a child's life and upbringing. Both parents may act as managing conservators, or one parent may have full decision-making authority. In other situations, there may be one managing conservator and one possessory conservator who does not have decision-making authority but does have the right to spend time with the child.

If you are in the midst of a child custody case, it is important to know your options and understand the benefits of each. Joint managing conservatorship is an arrangement in which both parents, or both parties, share decision-making responsibilities. This arrangement can be very beneficial for both the parents and the child, but it is not appropriate in every situation.

How Does Joint Managing Conservatorship Work?

In a joint managing conservatorship, parents discuss child-related concerns and determine together what is in the best interests of their child. This arrangement may be appropriate for you if you and the child's other parent are able to cooperate and work together to handle child-related concerns. It is also useful if you and the other parent live within a reasonably close distance from one another and have similar parenting styles and beliefs.


What is Parental Alienation?  

Posted on in Family Law

Houston Child Custody LawyerAny divorced or unmarried parents in a co-parenting relationship can tell you how difficult co-parenting can be. Unfortunately, some parents use their children to get back at their ex. In extreme cases, this may escalate into parental alienation. Parental alienation occurs when a parent tries to turn a child against the other parent. For example, the parent may tell the child that the other parent does not love or care about him or her, withhold parenting time, or intentionally violate the custody agreement.

Parents May Try to Manipulate a Child to Gain an Advantage in a Child Custody Case

Parental alienation is most commonly seen in contentious child custody or divorce cases. Essentially, a parent tries to alienate the child from the other parent by damaging the parent-child relationship. The parent may say disparaging things about the other parent, punish the child for having feelings of love or admiration for the other parent, or force the child to take sides in an adult dispute. Parents engaged in parental alienation may also intentionally sabotage the other parent's parenting time by scheduling extracurricular activities or play dates during the other parent’s parenting time.

As you can imagine, parental alienation is extremely harmful to children. Most child experts consider parental alienation to be a form of emotional and psychological abuse. While it is understandable that there can be feelings of resentment between parents who used to be in a relationship, parental alienation is unacceptable and judges do not look favorably upon parents who sabotage their child's relationship with the other parent.


Fort Bend Emergency Custody of a Child LawyerWhen a parent is worried about the safety of their child, nothing is more important to them than getting the child to a safe place. If a parent shares physical custody or "possession" of a child with another parent, they are typically expected to follow the custody plan. However, if circumstances warrant it, a parent may get emergency custody of a child. An emergency custody order gives a parent immediate custody of a child without needing to go through the motions of requesting a child custody modification via the usual route.

When Does a Situation Necessitate an Emergency Custody Order?

The courts seek to preserve the current custody arrangement unless there is a strong reason to deviate from the arrangement, so emergency custody orders are not granted lightly. Texas law states that a temporary emergency order may be issued if the child's current situation would "significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development.” Generally speaking, an emergency custody order is appropriate when one of the following situations exists:

  • The child is in imminent danger from abuse or neglect.

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