Children & Divorce FAQs
If your ex-spouse isn’t paying the child support they owe you, what is the best way to collect those child support payments?
One of the remedies available in a child support enforcement action is contempt. If you can hold a party in contempt for not paying child support, they are subject for being sentenced to jail. When you’ve got that hanging over somebody’s head, that helps us collect more child support than anything.
There are other remedies that can be effective at times. You can get a judgment against your spouse, but you’ve got to collect it just like any other judgment. When a child support arrears accrue, a lien automatically attaches; you can send a notice and put liens on bank accounts, retirement accounts, and real estate. As long as the property is not exempt, you have a lien by operation of law.
If a child support obligor is at least three months behind in their child support, you may attempt to suspend or revoke any licenses that have been issued by the state of Texas, including a driver’s licence, a medical license, or a law license. The threat of having that license suspended or revoked as a result of the child support arrears can also be an effective tool.
The important thing about creating a co-parenting plan is to recognize that whatever your parents methods were before the divorce are no longer the way that you’re going to do it. An example is a situation where you have a stay-at-home mom and a working dad. After the divorce, that stay-at-home mom is going to have to have a job, so for the first time their child has to go to daycare or an after school program and one of the parents is has the responsibility of picking them up.
You have to recognize that those changes occur and then look at your schedules and recognize that the children have schedules as well. If you take your calendar, your spouse’s calendar, the activities of your children and look at who has the best ability to meet those day-to-day needs, you wouldn’t have child custody litigation.
There’s a reason why the two parents had a child. They both believed at the time they could both be good parents and you have to have a willingness, even in a divorce, to let the other party be a parent to that child. In many cases, one side feels like the other person cannot be a good parent and they want to manage everything from who throws the birthday party to who takes the child to soccer, yet they’re busy working—so what are they going to do? That’s where you have to be creative in working out a schedule and realize that if you don’t work together, the judges in Texas are going to follow the Texas Family Code, which has a standard possession schedule that is presumed to be in the best interest of the child. However, that standard possession schedule doesn’t work for every family.
You want to pay attention to the issues that you have relative to your professions and come up with something that works for both parties and the child, so that everyone can come out of this, even if they don’t like each other as spouses, able to effectively co-parent their child.
All too often, parties use their children as pawns in a divorce case. In the long run, it’s only going to do damage. Unless you’re just dealing with infants, kids are pretty intelligent. They’re sponges that hear things, see things, and pick up vibes from their parents.
You’ve got to insulate the kids as much as possible from the issues in a divorce. When you’re talking to your kids, you have to be honest with them in an age-appropriate manner. There needs to be a basic discussion about mom and dad getting divorced, about there being two houses, and about a schedule. Both parties need to be aware of how their children are responding to the divorce process. To the extent necessary, they need to make sure they have counsellors or other professionals available if the kids need to have a third party to talk to about the process.