It’s almost September and a new legislative year, which means there are changes coming. One of the biggest this year is the change to the medical support provisions.
Until now, parents were only required to carry medical insurance as part of the child support provisions. Effective September 1, they are also required to carry dental insurance on their children. Additionally, parents are required to cover the unreimbursed portion of dental care on a 50 – 50 basis just as they have always been required to do for unreimbursed medical care.
Additionally, beginning September 1, if the parties vary from the guidelines, the court order will be required to have a guidelines page. This requirement has always been a good practice, but it has not always been the law in Texas (it has always has been the law for IV-D cases). The parties and the court are free to vary from guidelines, and Texas Family Code 154.128 lists several reasons for doing so. Beginning September 1, parties will be required to explain why the variance on the guidelines page. Both parties will benefit from this requirement because it will be easy to determine what changed if there is a material and substantial change in the circumstances of the parties or the child (the standard required to modify child support).
Another important topic is the relationship between the client and the paralegal. We understand that clients often want to talk to their attorney, after all they’re the one you hired to handle your case. In fact, when you hire an attorney, you actually hire a whole team that is here to help you. Sometimes, your attorney is in court or mediation, so we want you to be comfortable communicating with the whole team. Additionally, many of your questions can be handled by a paralegal.
Whenever you have a question, take the time to gather your thoughts, think your issue through and write them down in an email or message in the private client portal (if your attorney’s office offers one). Send your questions to both the attorney and the paralegal. Much like a doctor’s office, where the nurse handles many of the tasks, the paralegal handles many of the tasks in a law office. Not only are you likely to get your answer more quickly, most of the time the charges for a paralegal’s time are less than an attorney. Further, thinking through your issue is important because you might end up sending several emails and being charged for each one rather than only one or two.
Anytime you hire a legal team to represent you, it will cost money. Sometimes, it may take longer and cost more than you originally hoped or planned. But, with some little adjustments, you can reduce your costs and walk away happier with the process. At Bailey & Galyen, we want to help you get the best legal representation while still staying within your budget.