When your spouse files for divorce, it can change almost everything about your life. One day, you're going to work and coming home to your family. The next, you're served with papers and told to find a new place to live or coming home to an empty house. Your time with your children is now scheduled, and you're expected to pay child support.
Divorce can be both frustrating and depressing to experience. Partnering with an experienced family law attorney is the best way to protect yourself and your children's future during the divorce process, particularly if you want full or partial custody.
Respecting the temporary orders works in your favor
When the divorce process initiates, the court signs off on temporary custody and support orders. These are filed by the attorney representing the petitioner in the divorce, and it may favor them as a result. While it can be frustrating to pay child support while seeing so much less of your children, doing so can only work in your favor. When the court finalizes your divorce, the judge will consider your testimony and evidence, as well as what he or she has observed during the divorce proceedings. If you pay your support in a timely manner, it can help establish you as a parent who puts the children first.
Conversely, failing to pay your child support can undermine how you appear to the court. If you believe the amount of child support is too high, you need to address this with your attorney. Simply failing to pay or only paying a portion of the ordered support can hurt your case for joint custody, a child support reduction or a fair and equitable final divorce settlement.
An attorney can help adjust your support
The state of Texas uses a child support calculator that considers your income, current child support and any court-ordered medical support. If you believe that the amount of support is too high, your attorney can help. They know what documentation can support your claims. Your family law attorney can also request a hearing to have your financial information and evidence taken into consideration. It is important to follow the official process and wait for your hearing before making any changes to your payments. You should always abide by the most current order, not one you hope for in the future.
What to do if your ex withholds visitation
You may feel tempted to discontinue your child support payments if your former spouse begins canceling, withholding or cutting your visitation short. Doing so, as discussed above, will only hurt your case in the future. Instead, your attorney should help you document these violations of the visitation agreement. That documentation can help your case during the divorce proceedings. If things become contentious between you and your former spouse, it is critical to work with an experienced attorney who can present your side of the matter to the court.