Mediation and Child Support Increase

Live at Five’s board certified family attorney, Sonya Coffman, answers questions submitted by Southeast Texas KFDM News viewers. These questions include:

  • Does it make sense to go to mediation when you’re all ready paying for an attorney?
  • If you get married, will your child support increase to take into account your spouse’s income?


well divorces that land in the courts typically put one person gets another but sometimes the judge will order mediation to find out why we turn to Live at Five’s attorney Sonya Coffman so does it really make sense when you’re paying for an attorney then go to mediation does it end up costing more it does cost more in attorney time but we have a great center here the Dispute Resolution Center where cases can be mediated very inexpensively from the mediator stand point and that because they have great volunteer mediators who donate their time and statistics show that about ninety percent of the cases that go to mediation settle so its usually a good idea to spend the time to see if you can be worked out so do you need to hire a lawyer if you in fact go to mediation not to mediate per say the dispute resolution center mediates cases all the time without lawyers but to handle the divorce aspect you probably do need a lawyer for that alright onto some of our other questions I was divorced five years ago and recently found out that my husband had a retirement account that I didn't know about is it too late to ask for my share of that no if part of that retirement account was community property during the marriage even five years after the divorce if the spouse has not repudiated or said no way no how I'm I going to give you any of that because that starts the statute of limitations running and from that point forward a spouse has two years to bring a suit to petition or to divide property that was not divided in the divorce so if the spouse just learned of it then it's not too late okay I'm thinking of getting remarried will my child support increase because of my wife’s income no the court will not consider a spouses’ income in figuring child support so as far as child support itself goes can that ever be altered once it is established in the court what the amount is yes through a modification proceeding either through a private attorney or through the Attorney General's Office if there's the material change in circumstances that can be modified okay my divorce was final two months ago and I was awarded primary custody my husband is meeting with his attorney to take me back to court to get custody because he says that my daughter wants to live with him can he do that wow that's the last thing somebody wants to hear two months later isn’t it the answer is probably not because to change the person he has primary residence within a year someone would have to show that filing an affidavit with the petition showing that the child is in danger with that other parent so provided there's not been any big change in circumstances that would be very difficult to do and and the reason is the law gives you that grace period after you've been to court without having to go back so quickly now what about if the kids are a certain age at that point can the kids decide even if the courts have already decided this is who primary custody belongs to the child can express a preference in-chambers to the judge where they would like to live but that's not binding on the court the court determines best interest but to file a modification within a year there it's a very specific basis in which that can be done in the preference of the child is not one of those within that year and you're probably also looking at additional cost going back to court absolutely the last thing somebody wants to hear alright Sonya thanks so much we appreciate it and we got lots of other questions and we’ll get to those next month and if you have a question about family law all you have to do with fax us those questions at eight nine two seven three oh five or email us at