The Texas Attorney General’s Office announced the new Texas child support cap earlier this year.
Effective September 1, 2019, the cap on net resources to which the statutory child support guidelines apply is raised from $8,550 to $9,200.
This cap is updated every six years to adjust for inflation.
This adjustment to the cap will affect divorces involving high net income couples filed after September 1, 2019, as well as any other child support modifications or cases filed after that date.
Follow this link to read more about the General Rules for Child Support In A Texas Divorce.
Yes – you can seek to modify the child custody (possession) portion of your final decree of divorce after your divorce.
This article provides information on common situations in which a parent may seek to modify their child’s possession schedule as well as the legal requirements to successfully get a modification.
A parent may also seek to modify a prior modification order as well.
Why Parents Seek Modifications
There are almost limitless reasons a parent may seek to modify the possession schedule for their children that was originally established in their final decree of divorce.
Modifications are common after divorce if parents divorce when their children are young because a lot can change in 18 years for both parents and children.
Some common reasons a parent might seek to change their child custody order include:
- a change in a parent’s work or work schedule;
- a change in the child’s schedule;
- the other parent no longer participate’s in the child’s life;
- the child’s health or safety is at risk;
- there is a change in the environment the child lives in while in either parent’s possession; or
- a parent is moving for work or other reasons.
Legal Grounds For Modifying Child Custody
In Texas, there are three different grounds by which a parent can seek to modify their child possession order.
The first is if the circumstances of the child or a parent have materially and substantially changed since the final decree of divorce or a prior modification order was signed.
The second ground is if the child is at least 12 years of age and expresses to the court that the child prefers that a different parent have the exclusive right to determine the child’s residence.
The third ground is if the parent who has the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the child in the prior order has relinquished primary care and possession of the child for at least six months.
No matter which ground a parent seeks to modify the possession order under, the parent seeking modification must also show to the court that the modification sought is in the best interest of the child.
You worked hard at your job. You saved money from the day you started. Lucky for your – your company had a 401(k) or pension plan match program so that 4% you stashed away for retirement was really 8%.
You were responsibly planning for retirement and felt like you were well on your way to a financially secure retirement. Then your spouse filed for divorce. Now he or she wants you to hand over half of your retirement account.
That doesn’t seem fair. How can that be?
Texas Is A Community Property State
Let’s start with the basics – Texas is a community property state. There is a presumption that everything you and your spouse own at the time of divorce is community property that is subject to a just and right division.
This includes retirement accounts regardless of whether it is a defined benefit plan (i.e. a pension) or a defined contribution plan (i.e. a 401(k).
All community property is subject to a just and right division during your divorce.
But You Started Contributing To Your Retirement Account Before You Were Married
In that case, assuming you also contributed during marriage, the retirement account would be a mix of separate and community property.
The good news is that there are specific methods and formulas for determining what portion is community and what portion is separate property.
The bad news is that this process is complicated and requires substantial documentation.
In this case, the community portion of the retirement account is subject to division but the separate portion is not subject to division in your divorce.
You can learn more about the details of dividing a retirement account here.
The Good News
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. This means that your spouse’s retirement account is subject to these same issues.