Divorce generally involves the dependent children of the marriage, and if the parents cannot reach an agreement as to the issues of their children (visitation, child custody and support), the court will intervene and solve the issues on the parents’ behalf in the best interest of the child/children.
Factors regarding the Child’s Best Interest:
- the feelings and wishes of child/children;
- the child/children’s educational needs;
- the family’s background and characteristics which the Court may consider;
- any history of abuse, neglect, or harm;
- the parent’s abilities to care for and meet the child/children’s needs.
Custody, Visitation, Support:
Divorcing parents of minor children are encouraged to reach an agreement about the custody of their minor children, even though the marriage may be ending, the parents need to cooperate in the raising of their children. The parents can seek a joint conservatorship if they qualify for such duties. Additionally, if a child is over the age of 12, his or her wishes regarding custody may be heard by the Court.
One parent (and that parent’s home) will be designated the primary residence for the children, with reasonable visitation set in place for the non-custodial parent. The court will approve a reasonable agreement by the parties regarding visitation or will impose standard orders.
Child support guidelines calculate the support obligation as a percentage of the income of the non-custodial parent, who is obligated to support the child. The formula applies a percentage to the income of the parent according to the number of kids requiring support; generally 20% of the gross income of the non-custodial parent must go to support one child, and increases depending on the number of minor children (e.g., 1 child- 20% gross salary; 2 children- 25%; 3 children- 30%; 4 children- 35%; 5 or more children 40%). The non-custodial parent must also generally pay the yearly premium of health insurance and other health expenses not covered by insurance.
Contact Ashmore & Ashmore for a private consultation.