It’s A New Year, Are You Ready?

New Year Fresh Start Coffee Mug Wills and Estate PlanningThe new year is upon us. Let us reflect on the old year and commit ourselves to making 2019 a better year.

Did you intend to divorce in 2018? Was Alimony or Spousal Support an issue? If so, you only have a couple of days to finalize the divorce and still have those payments be tax-deductible.

Do you have a divorce or other suit involving children? If so, you now need to provide for Dental Insurance in addition to Medical Insurance.

Additionally, 2019 is an Odd numbered year. That means the “visiting” parent will have possession of the child beginning at noon on December 28, 2019 until the day before school resumes; and starting at 6:00 the day school recesses for the Thanksgiving break until 6:00 pm the day before the Thanksgiving break ends.

Also don’t forget if the visiting parent wants to exercise summer visitation other than the month of July, you need to give written notice to the “home” parent not later than Monday April 1, 2019.

If your ex did something that made you angry, forgive them. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Too often people do something that hurts or angers us and we assume bad intent on their part (rather than assuming it was unintentional or unintended) and then we respond in kind. Thus begins a pattern of escalation that does not benefit the child.

I cannot stress enough. It isn’t about you. It isn’t about your spouse. The legislature is concerned with the well-being of the child. In fact from Texas Family Code section 153, Subchapter E the guidelines spelled out in the Standard Possession Schedule a MINIMUM amount of possession and access for the visiting parent. (b) It is the policy of this state to encourage frequent contact between a child and each parent for periods of possession that optimize the development of a close and continuing relationship between each parent and child. (c) It is preferable for all children in a family to be together during periods of possession.

A final consideration of the standard possession schedule is considered in the best interest of children age three and over. Section 153.251 (d). Recent studies have shown that for children aged three and younger the children should have more frequent contact, but perhaps for shorter periods of time. An example, on a case I handled just this morning, we have the father visiting with the child on every Tuesday and Sunday for a couple of hours, rather than every other weekend for the whole weekend. As the child ages we will increase the period of visitation but it will be less frequent.

The one thing I can never stress enough. When you’re facing a Divorce, or Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship hire a qualified attorney who practices Family Law. We attend CLE on the subject so we know the latest law on the subject, we know the judges, CPS workers, Social Workers, and other lawyers in the area. We are more likely to be able to get an idea of what will happen and how much your particular case may cost.