Anatomy of Child Custody Part 3: Post-litigation

Now that we have discussed what happens prior to and during a child custody case, we will dive into what happens afterwards. The child is in full custody of the sole managing conservator, and that leaves you as the possessory conservator. This means you have the right to consistent visits with your child. Along with scheduled visitations, as the possessory conservator, you have the responsibility to pay child support to your child’s primary custodian.

Your possession and access schedule

As part of your parenting plan, it’s up to you and the other parent to establish visitation times with your child. Once you present your visitation schedule has been approved (adjudicated) by a judge, it becomes a possession and access schedule. The schedule you created should give you and the other parent ample time to spend with your child, encouraging your child to have a close relationship with both parents.

Unless the court has determined a reason why not, you have the right to see your child. If you are denied visitation time with your child by the other parent, you can bring the issue back before the Texas court.

Child support 

To encourage paternal responsibility, the Office of the Attorney General establishes paternity of the child and enforces support orders. Establishing paternity is important because it cements your legal right to be involved in your child’s life. And one major responsibility that accompanies this is your ability to provide financially for your child through child support.

The amount of the payments you make is based on a percentage of your income. If for some reason you are unable to pay the percentage required of you, you can ask the court to modify your current child support order. Only the court can modify a child support order, and if it does, it will take the following factors under consideration:

  • The age and health of your child
  • Child care expenses
  • The time the child spends with each parent
  • Financial resources and debt
  • The provision of health insurance

Child support generally continues up until your child turns 18-years-old or until your child graduates high school, whichever one occurs later. If you fail to make any payments, there are consequences involved. Since child support is a court order, failure to obey is considered contempt of court. This can lead to fines, jail time, or both.

The court wants what is best for your child, and in an ideal world, that looks like personal time spent with both parents. If you have any more questions related to child custody laws in the state of Texas and the processes involved, please reach out to an experienced family law attorney.