When Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick called it quits this summer, after nine years together, the tabloids started spewing speculation stories like crazy. Who gets custody of the kids? Can Scott get child support? Will Scott’s rumored (and reality show televised) substance abuse issues jeopardize his possession time? Does he care?
While she won’t speculate exactly how this case might be resolved in California, Dallas family law attorney Abby Gregory can explain how it would likely pan out here in Texas.
1. When it comes to child custody and support, does it matter that Kourtney and Scott were never married?
In Texas, your rights as a parent are no different whether you were married or not. Your child support obligation, duty to pay for the children’s insurance and rights to possession of the children aren’t going to be any different either.
2. Who would get custody of the three kids?
Since it appears to be well established that the kids are already with Kourtney most of the time, it’s pretty likely that Kourtney would get primary custody in Texas, but not sole custody, which is rare here anyway.
A dad who is present, willing and wants to see his kids is going to get visitation in Texas. Most likely, the couple will share joint custody, and Scott would be named a joint managing conservator. He would likely end up with a standard possession schedule, which typically awards possession first, third and fifth weekends, Thursday night dinners and 30 days in the summer.
3. Kourtney has million$$$, would she have to pay Scott child support?
Not in Texas. While some reports say that Scott is going to ask for child support, that would be unlikely to occur in Texas since Kourtney would be the managing conservator with the right to designate the primary residence of the children.
Even though Kourtney has had more financial success than Scott, the financial status of the primary parent (likely to be Kourtney) has no bearing on the child support obligations Scott would have as a dad in Texas. She could have a billion dollars, but that doesn’t diminish his duty as a father to support his children. Child support would be based on his income and his ability to support the kids.
If Scott could show he’s paying an extraordinary amount of expenses to support the kids, he might be able to offset his child support, but a Court would never order Kourtney to pay child support to Scott in this situation.
4. So Scott would have to pay child support? How much?
In Texas, Scott’s child support obligation would be based on a percentage of his net monthly income. The percentage is based on how many children Kourtney and Scott have together. In Texas, Scott would pay 20 percent for one child, 25 percent for two children and 30 percent for three children.
Scott and Kourtney have three children, so he would pay 30 percent, plus monthly insurance premiums for the kids. However, The child support obligation caps out at an annual income of approximately $150,000 per year in Texas, so a person who makes $150,000 is going pay the same amount as a person who makes $5 million. The most Scott would be obligated to pay here would be $2,565 per month, plus insurance.
In this case, where the mom is independently wealthy, the two may agree that Scott doesn’t have to pay his child support obligation, but that would be by agreement. No judge is ever going to order that. Scott’s best day in court in Texas would be if Kourtney agreed that he doesn’t have to pay child support.
5. Could Scott’s alleged substance abuse jeopardize his visitation time with the kids?
It depends on the severity of the substance abuse problem. In Texas, if the substance abuse is suspected to be severe, the court could order supervised visitation for a set period of time (several weeks to a few months), until the parent can establish that he or she is capable of not drinking during possession periods.
Because Scott’s substance abuse and partying ways have been documented multiple times on the Kardashian’s reality shows and in the media, he’s going to have a hard time getting out from under it.
Most likely, what would happen in Scott’s case is that an alcohol injunction would be put in place, with supervised visitation, where he couldn’t drink alcohol eight hours prior to or during possession of the children.
The court could also order monitoring with an EKG test following possession (which goes back 80 hours) or Soberlink, which is a breathalyzer hooked up to a cell phone which can immediately measure Scott’s blood alcohol level upon request.
6. What if Kourtney wants to prevent Scott from seeing the kids altogether?
What I would advise Kourtney is that she can’t keep Scott from seeing his children. There are safeguards that can be put in place, but as the children’s father, he has a legal right to have possession of his kids, and the court is going to afford him that right. The judge wouldn’t care what Scott does when he doesn’t have his kids either.
If there was enough evidence to show that he’s going out and partying when he has possession of his children, staying out all night, sleeping all day (even if family or nannies are present to care for the children) or he’s intoxicated or displays other inappropriate behavior in front of the children, that’s going to be a problem for Scott.
However, in Texas, just because someone is struggling with substance abuse, it’s not a black and white issue, “Sorry, you failed, it’s over.” There may be safeguards put in place and some steps he would need to complete (supervised possession, monitoring, etc.), but if he follows through, the court would support his parental rights.
Need Divorce, Child Custody or Child Support Advice in Dallas?
Contact a reputable Dallas divorce and family law attorney who has experience litigating and settling divorce, child custody, visitation and support disputes. He or she can explain the options available to you in Texas and offer advice on child custody and visitation, child support and divorce modifications as well.