Ask a Lawyer on SingleDad: Child Custody

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Child Custody Topic

Q: I’m actually looking for
some advice for my husband and I regarding our situation. I guess that’s the
best place to begin.

About 3
months after my husband and I got married we found out he had a child from a
woman he knew before we started dating. She had not contacted him regarding the
child, and we found out about his son when our joint bank account got hit for a
ridiculous amount of money. After some digging, and working with a lawyer, we
found out that this woman filed child support paperwork with a falsified
signature of his. After going through paternity testing it turned out the child
actually is his. I’m sure you can understand the skepticism at first
considering the way we found out and the fact that he didn’t know the child
existed for the first 3 years of his life. Now that he knows the child is his,
he is actively working to be a part of his son’s life.

An amount
for child support was determined and is now being withdrawn from my husband’s
paychecks. I have a few questions regarding this though and would appreciate
some advice based on what people have experienced. My husband and I currently
live in a different state than the child, who lives with his mother. The mother
is considering moving out of state from her current location, (though not any
closer to us, unfortunately). Also, my husband and I have only been married for
just over 1 year and we were living in different states for most of that time,
resulting in a separate filing of taxes this past year. In regards to child
support, what I would like to know is:

1. If the
mother, or my husband and I, ever move to a different state than where we
currently live, respectively, what happens? Do we have to go through court all
over again to come to a new agreement based on the laws of the new state?

2. If the
income my husband reports ever changes, whether based on an increase in his
salary, or us filing for taxes jointly, does the child support payment amount
change?


Also, my
husband and his son’s mother have agreed to work with one another to allow my
husband as much contact with his son as he would like, and his son will stay
with the mother. They have also agreed though that they would like to keep this
part out of the courts. Is that really a wise idea?


Now for the
non-legal side of things. All opinions and advice are gladly welcomed as we are
just trying to figure out our new family dynamic right now. As I
mentioned, my husband is in a different state than his son. What have other
guys done to keep up the best relationship possible with their kids whom they
do not live with? Also, any advice for us on this unique situation would be
greatly appreciated. There’s a whole host of things I would love to know; so
much that I’m not even sure where to begin with the questions. Basically just
trying to figure out life as a new stepmom to my husband’s child whom he just
recently met for the first time.


We currently live in New York. The child was conceived in Texas. The mother
currently still lives in Texas, but is considering moving to Colorado. My
husband and I will be in New York for at least the next 2 years or so while I
finish graduate school, but are discussing moving to California after, which is
where I am from, or Florida, where a lot of his family is, if we do not stay in
New York.




Ask a Lawyer on SingleDad

Answer
from Cordell & Cordell attorney Jamie Kinkaid:

I do not practice in Texas. Therefore,
I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of Texas, but Cordell & Cordell
has attorneys who are licensed and located in Texas who would be happy to
discuss your case with you.

Under the jurisdictions I practice in,
and under the UCCJEA and the UCCJA , the home state of your husband’s child
would still be Texas so long as the child has not been gone for a period longer
than 6 months. With that being
said, any and all legal proceedings at this point would need to happen in
Texas. Each of your questions will be answered in turn:

1. If the
mother, or my husband and I, ever move to a different state than where we
currently live, respectively, what happens? Do we have to go through court all
over again to come to a new agreement based on the laws of the new state?

The answer here is no. In fact, unless everyone agrees after
an Order is entered in Texas, or if Texas refuses to exercise jurisdiction, a
new state will not assume jurisdiction.
Therefore, the Order in Texas will remain in Texas, however you can
register it for enforcement in another state. Registration for enforcement is different from getting a new
order. Registration is simply
asking the court in the new jurisdiction to help you enforce a pre-existing
order. Even with a move you can
set up a visitation schedule which accounts for this possibility.

2. If the
income my husband reports ever changes, whether based on an increase in his
salary, or us filing for taxes jointly, does the child support payment amount
change?

This question is a bit more complex. In
my jurisdictions, the increase of an obligor’s (your husband’s) income is not a
basis for review of a child support order. However, all parties, in my jurisdictions, can ask for a
review every three (3) years. If
the income shift results in at least a 15% shift in the obligation of child
support, then child support would be changed.

As to tax filing status, this does not
typically result in a change.
Every tax status may result in a small shift, but nothing typically
extraordinary. Further, the income
of a spouse is hardly ever considered unless the Obligor is refusing to work or
dissipating their skills so as to avoid child support.

3. Also, my husband and his son’s mother have
agreed to work with one another to allow my husband as much contact with his
son as he would like, and his son will stay with the mother. They have also
agreed though that they would like to keep this part out of the courts. Is that
really a wise idea?

By
not putting an agreement in writing and putting it through the courts, nothing
that is decided is enforceable.
Therefore, if either party does not abide by the agreement, you cannot
hold them accountable. It is
always best to reduce agreements, especially visitation, to writing and ask the
court to enter the agreement so no questions remain as to the rights and
obligations of the parties.

4. What have other guys done to keep up the best
relationship possible with their kids whom they do not live with?

Beyond
basic visitation, constant contact with a child is a necessity. Whether it be nightly skype calls,
letters, email, or telephone, making sure you keep repeated and frequent
contact is an absolute must.
Further, setting up extended visitations, including extended summers, is
also a necessity.

In
closing, please understand that my response is based on the limited facts you
have provided, and I do not practice law in the state where any necessary
proceedings may take place. I urge
you to seek more in depth legal advice from a qualified family law attorney in
your area to discuss your options further. Please understand that your situation is likely very time
sensitive and it is best not to delay seeking the legal advice.

Cordell
& Cordell attorneys in Texas

To arrange
an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell &
Cordell attorney, including Omaha, Nebraska Divorce Lawyer Jamie Kinkaid, contact Cordell & Cordell.

Richard JaramilloRichard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”

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Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com, a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children. RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents “Make Life Happen…Again!”