If you recently filed for divorce, you’ll be among many other Texas parents who are trying to navigate summer break as a co-parent for the first time. Child custody issues can be complex. Like all good parents, you want what’s best for your kids, especially as they learn to cope with the changes that your divorce has brought to their lives.
Child support is often a top priority in divorce. If you and your ex are sharing custody, it’s especially important to understand various financial supplement issues that might arise. It’s wise to build a strong support network from the start that you can tap into if a particular issue arises that you don’t feel equipped to handle on your own.
Child support payment amount might be less if custody is shared
There are several types of child custody in a divorce. You and your ex must agree to terms regarding various issues, such as where your kids will live and who will have the authority to make decisions about their health, education and other important matters. If you and your co-parent are sharing physical custody, it means that your children will live with you half the time and their other parent the rest of the time.
There are guidelines in place to help a family court judge determine who should pay child support and how much such payments should be. If your former spouse has custody of your kids 50% of the time, the court might lower the recommended amount of child support for your separate income levels as an adjustment for your shared custody arrangement.
Co-parent agreements regarding special circumstances
Perhaps you have custody of your kids every other week, except in summer when they stay at their other parent’s house for the majority of the time due to your work schedule. If your co-parent usually pays child support to provide financial supplement when your kids live with you, it is possible to incorporate terms of agreement into your plan that state that no support is necessary during summer when the kids are at the paying parent’s house.
You can also devise a plan ahead of time to address unforeseen financial issues that might arise. For instance, what if a child becomes ill or suffers an injury? Will you and your ex share the expenses associated with medical treatment, or will the parent who has custody at the time foot the bill?
What happens if a parent disregards a court order?
While you and your ex are free to customize your child custody plan, if the court has issued a child support order, both you and your ex must fully adhere to its terms. Neither of you is free to disregard the terms of a signed agreement unless and until the court issues a modification.
If your ex isn’t making child support payments on time or is violating the terms of your child custody agreement in some other way, you can seek the court’s intervention to help resolve the issue.