The best planning comes before marriage.
In the final installment of this series, we're going to look into a very common issue that can be a tricky situation for couples to navigate: financial support of children from previous relationships. Whether it's the future husband or wife who has child support obligations, this is a long-term financial circumstance that should be fully discussed before marriage vows are exchanged. This is an issue that is often inquired about much later than it should be. No one wants to offend their fiance by asking, “am I going to have to financially support my future stepchildren?” Generally, most people assume the answer to this question to be yes, what's your husband's or wife's is yours, including their financial obligations. But is this necessarily true in the legal sense? In Texas, the real answer is no.
In Texas, only the income of the non-custodial parent (the parent who the child does not have primary physical possession of the child) is considered in child support determinations. However, if that parent has other children, it is possible that he or she could request his or her child support burden be proportionally reduced due to his or her new financial obligation to the other children. If you are marrying a person who already has a child, it is important for you to talk honestly about whether or not that child will be provided for from the family funds or if your future husband or wife will set aside some of their income to cover the expenses of their child. Understandably, you may have a great deal of affection for your future step-child, but if that child's parent takes your new spouse to court seeking to receive more money in child support payments, the outcome of that decision will affect you and any other children you may decide to have with your spouse. It is important to have these discussions before the ink is dry on the marriage license because statistically, it is differing views about finances that most often drive couples to divorce. If you expect to spend a lifetime in your marriage, you must be willing to have some difficult conversations along the way.
It is our hope that this series of blogs was helpful and informative. There are many other issues affecting new marriages, and a family law attorney can help guide you through some of these issues before you say “I do.” If you'd like to speak to a professional, knowledgeable team of attorneys, please give The Law Office of Kimberly D. Moss a call at 713-574-8626 to schedule a consultation appointment.