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How to protect your child during your deportation

If you are in the United States without legal authorization, you probably constantly worry about the possibility of deportation. That is understandable, but you should try not to panic. If you have children who are citizens of the United States, you may want to think about developing a plan to keep them safe during and after your removal proceedings.

Children require daily care and supervision. While you regularly make the best decisions about schooling, medical care and other important topics, if an immigration judge detains or deports you, you may not be able to care for your children. A temporary custody agreement may protect your children until you are able to do the job again.

Anna Faris, Chris Pratt to share joint child custody

Movie fans might know Chris Pratt for his roles in recent popular movies, but his most recent headlines seemed to focus on his ongoing divorce from actress Anna Faris. The couple recently finalized their split, addressing difficult topics such as child custody, support and more. For Texas parents who hope to share joint custody after their divorce, Faris and Pratt's unique approach to support may be of interest.

The couple agreed to a joint custody arrangement, although they say that they plan to be flexible in their approach. In such situations, one parent -- usually the higher earner -- often still pays child support to the other. However, Pratt and Faris are currently foregoing traditional approaches to support and instead establishing a joint bank account, from which they will both pay for their son's daily expenses. They will each fund the account on an annual basis.

Maintain a strong child protection defense against false claims

For Texas parents, there are few things more terrifying than potentially losing access to their children. These fears may be realized when under investigation by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Maintaining a strong child protection defense is often essential for parents who are eager to be reunited with their children or to maintain custody.

When facing false claims, many parents think that the truth will ultimately come out and their name will be cleared. While most people want to believe that truth always prevails over lies, it is much better to assert the truth in a professional manner rather than wait for it to hopefully make its way out. Since neglect or abuse claims involving minors are a delicate matter, this often involves working alongside a professional.

How do you know if you'll get alimony after a divorce?

Texas parents usually understand that child support is essential for their child's well-being. Less clear, however, is the importance of alimony. Many people are understandably uncomfortable with the idea of paying their ex after a divorce, but doing so is often necessary. 

Couples who were married for at least 10 years and earned significantly different incomes will probably see alimony come up in their divorce. This is true even if one person voluntarily quit his or her job or accepted a less-demanding position in order to be the primary caregiver for children. Having children is not a necessary prerequisite for alimony payments, though. A partner who simply did not work or who did not earn as much as one's spouse can still receive support after divorce. 

Who pays child support in a joint custody situation?

In general, whichever parent has primary custody of their child will also receive support payments from their ex. However, with custody increasingly trending toward joint custody and shared parenting, how are Texas parents to handle child support payments? Ultimately, it comes down to the individual needs of each family. 

The co-founder of two prominent organizations -- including the Center for Parental Responsibility -- Molly Olsen recently spoke about how the historical precedent of kids staying with mom 26 days out of the month is not only outdated, but also not supported by research or data. As most people know by now, dads are also incredibly important to their children's lives, and not just because they used to be the main payers of child support. Spending around 50 percent of their time with their dads is an emotionally healthy thing for kids. 

How to talk to children about divorce

Children have specific emotional needs when it comes to facing the complex and traumatic issue of divorce. Your role as a parent is crucial in helping your children get through the divorce feeling supported and loved.

These suggestions can help you as you talk to your children about your divorce.

Should I pursue sole child custody?

Joint custody may be edging its way toward being the new norm after divorce, but that does not mean it is the right choice for every family in Texas. Child custody should always reflect the best interests of the individual child. For some, sole custody might be a more appropriate choice. 

Sole custody can apply to either legal or physical custody and means that one parent has the exclusive rights regarding a child. The other parent is considered to be the noncustodial parent. In sole physical custody, a child lives exclusively with only the custodial parent, and he or she may also have periods of visitation with the noncustodial parent. 

Starting a business? Make sure it's shielded from divorce

Owning a business is one of the most rewarding experiences for entrepreneurs. While these innovative individuals often put a great deal of planning and effort into even the smallest aspects of their companies, they often fail to implement an important protection -- a prenup before any planned marriage. Creating a barrier between business and divorce is important for Texas business owners who want to make sure that their livelihood is not threatened. 

For those who start their businesses before saying "I do," a prenuptial agreement will probably work well. These are written and signed prior to getting married, and while they can address a wide range of topics, they are frequently used to deal with asset division in the event of a divorce. Even if a person thinks that they will keep their business totally separate from marital assets, a prenup can ensure that there is no ambiguity on the matter. 

Smart phones are the child custody issue no one is talking about

Parents usually address issues of custody, parenting time and visitation during divorce, but what about more complex issues such as discipline? Although the idea of determining how one parent can discipline a child in his or her own home can be uncomfortable, there is some merit to dealing with complex issues, such as smart phone use, during child custody proceedings. Otherwise, parents could potentially find themselves in uncomfortable legal situations. 

The arrest of an out-of-state mother seems to eerily mirror the arrest of a Texas father some time ago. According to reports, the mother disciplined her 15-year-old daughter, taking away the teen's smart phone as punishment. Her ex-husband then called the police, claiming the mother had actually stolen the phone since he had purchased it. She was arrested earlier in 2018 but did not go to court until September, when the charges were dropped. As it turned out, the daughter -- not her ex-husband -- owned the phone. 

Get child support right the first time

As a parent, you already know that the financial undertaking of raising children is not for the faint of heart. From school supplies and fees to the weekly grocery bill, it is not cheap to be a parent. This may have you worried about your upcoming divorce, particularly if you earn significantly more than your soon-to-be ex, or vice-versa. Who will foot the bill for health care costs and how will you divide financial responsibility for other major financial responsibilities? Your child support order can cover all of these concerns. 

According to Texas family law, child support can be determined by a formula that takes a number of considerations into account. This process can be straightforward in some cases, and involves calculating both of your incomes, parenting time, health insurance costs and several other factors. You may want to have your W-2 or several pay stubs ready to go for this process. 

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Law Office of Jacqueline McNutt
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