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Veterans and Family Law Issues Video

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This page was created by Texas Legal Services Center and provides additional information and resources on the issues discussed in the Veterans and Family Law Issues video produced by the Texas Veterans Legal Aid Coalition.

Where can I learn about veterans and family law issues?

Watch this Veterans and Family Law Issues video produced by the Texas Veterans Legal Aid Coalition. This video is about the special legal impact on veterans involved in family law disputes, and includes information on child support and custody.

How are custody orders established in Texas?

Custody orders for children can be established through one of the following ways:

  1. A Divorce Decree - if the parents are filing for a divorce and there are no custody orders in place for the children, the divorce decree will include custody orders for the children. Learn more about establishing orders for children through a divorce decree by reviewing this article on FAQs: Filing a Divorce with Children.  
  2. A Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) - a SAPCR means custody orders. It is petition filed with the court which requests the court issue orders regarding custody, visitation, child support, and/or medical and dental support for children. Learn more about a SAPCR by reviewing this article on FAQs: Filing a Parent SAPCR (Custody) Case.

What is a custodial parent and noncustodial parent?

A custodial parent (legally known as a managing conservator) is who the child primarily lives with. Essentially this is the person who has custody of the child and the parent who receives child support.

A noncustodial parent (possessory conservator) does not have primary custody of the child, but has legal rights to spend time with the child (visitation) and know about the child. A noncustodial parent typically pays child support. Being a noncustodial parent does not mean you do not have rights as a parent. Learn more about your rights by reviewing this Handbook for Noncustodial Parents.

What is child support and do I have to pay child support if I'm a veteran?

Child support is money paid by a parent (typically the noncustodial parent) to help pay for the cost of raising a child. Veterans can be court ordered to pay child support. This is true even if VA benefits are your only source of income. A court has the right to consider any money you receive from the VA that replaces your income as income when calculating your child support amount. To learn more about child support, review this article on Child Support, Medical Support, and Dental Support.

How do I calculate child support in Texas?

Generally, child support amounts are based on a percentage of the monthly net resources of the obligor (person paying child support) and the number of children. Child support is based on net income from all sources, not only wages. For more information on child support calculations review the following articles:

Are my VA disability benefits considered part of my net resources used to calculate child support?

Yes, VA disability benefits is considered part of your net resources and is used to calculate child support. However, if the child receives benefits the court will subtract the benefits paid to the child from your child support obligation. Learn more about veterans and child support in the following articles:

Is my VA pension considered part of my net resources used to calculate child support?

VA pension is not included in your net resources. Learn more about veterans and child support in the following articles:

What other benefits are considered part of my net resources used to calculate child support?

With a few exceptions, child support is based on net income from all sources, not only wages. Refer to the chart below for common types of income used to calculate child support. This chart was published by Texas A&M University School of Law, Family and Veterans Advocacy Clinic.

Common types of income used to calculate child support – this list does not include all possible types of income

 

Countable as income for child support?

Employment income: wages, overtime, tips, bonuses, commissions, self-employment, perks of the job like automobiles, per diems, cell phones, etc.

Yes

Rental Income

Yes

TANF

NO

SSI - Social Security Supplemental Income – Disability income not based on earnings

NO

SSDI – Disability Income based on earnings

Yes

Retirement benefits, pensions, trust income, annuities, military retirement (Non VA), Service connected disability compensation & TDUI

Yes

Veterans Affairs Pension, Aid & Attendance

NO

SNAP

NO

Portions of the GI Bill that cover living expenses

Yes

VA Disability Pay

Yes

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Yes

Unemployment Benefits

Yes

If I am the custodial parent what happens to my custody rights if I am deployed?

If there is a possibility you will be deployed, your custody orders should include a provision for what happens if you are deployed. If the custody orders do not include a provision, a court will not permanently change custody because a parent has been deployed. However, either parent can ask a court to grant a temporary order designating another person have custody while you are deployed. Review the following articles for more information on options and rights you may have.

If I am a noncustodial parent what happens to my visitation rights if I am deployed?

If there is a possibility you will be deployed, your custody orders should include a provision for what happens if you are deployed. If the custody orders do not include a provision, Texas family law allows for the noncustodial parent to designate a person who will exercise the parent's visitation while they are deployed. Upon return the noncustodial parent may ask the court for makeup visitation time. Review the following articles for more information on options and rights you may have.

Do I still pay child support if I am deployed?

Yes, you still have to pay child support. You can ask for a review of your child support order with the Texas Attorney General - Child Support Division if your earnings will change due to deployment.

Where can veterans find more videos that discuss legal issues?

Please visit the Texas Veterans Videos page. Click here.

Where can I get legal help?

The Texas Veterans Legal Aid Coalition is comprised of thirteen legal aid organizations who provide a variety of legal services to veterans in Texas. For help, contact the organizations who serve your county. Click here for a complete list of the organizations and the counties they serve.