Being able to serve our military members and their spouses is among the best parts of working for the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. It is an honor to help those who selflessly give of themselves by keeping our country safe and by performing acts of generosity by their faithful service. Surely, it would be difficult to imagine having to go through the problems associated with a divorce or child custody case while serving your country from overseas or under similar circumstances. However, this is exactly what our military members go through when they are tested for performing their job duties and serving the nation. On top of that, the need to proceed with a family law case can be among the challenges that a military family must face.
When it comes to writing blog posts like this, one or another is associated with military service; the thought process that I have is to provide answers to questions you or your family may have in association with divorce or child custody matters in Texas. While I wish that I would provide you with specific information about your life and its circumstances, I cannot do so. However, you should be able to take on the questions you have with an experienced family law attorney. You can then find out answers to your specific questions and learn more about how a family law case could impact your circumstances both now and in the future.
Otherwise, this space here on our blog is where you can have your general concerns answered by looking at scenarios that are hopefully relevant to you in your life. In today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, I would like to share some questions that I have received regarding the world of military divorce in child custody matters. Not only will these questions give you something to think about in terms of issues that may be impacting your own life, but I will provide you with answers to those FAQs that I have received in my time serving folks in the world of Texas family law. While I cannot promise you that every question we pose and answer in today’s blog post will be relevant to your life, I hope most of them will be.
If these questions are not relevant to your life or if you have questions about the information contained in this blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the law office of Brian Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys for free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.
In what circumstances can your child tell the judge where they want to live?
Some of the more commonly asked questions about child custody cases and military families are regarding a child’s ability to talk to the judge about their preference on where they will be living on a full-time basis. The question is whether or not your children will have a chance to address the judge directly and to voice their opinion on where they will be living after the family law case comes to an end. The general impression that military members have is that their older children will have an opportunity to speak to the judge about their preference on living arrangements. However, we need to figure out whether or not this is an assumption or whether or not your child will have an opportunity to talk to the judge directly about their future living circumstances.
No person is in a position to be able to tell a judge where near children will be living after the family law cases come to an end. The judge would consider evidence submitted during a trial to determine a full-time residence for your child. Still, you, your attorney, your opposing party, their attorney, or your child cannot tell a judge specifically where your child should be living. The judge will make a final determination about this subject and make decisions based on the evidence of your case.
Bear in mind that a judge makes decisions regarding your children based on what is in your child’s best interests. Their emotional development, physical health, educational prospects, ability to interact and connect with family, and a host of other issues. Your job is to present evidence to a judge that will be persuasive and show them that your home is the best environment for nurturing these subjects in your child. While no one can predict the future, these are areas of your child’s life that the state of Texas believes is very important for a judge to consider and for your family to focus on in the post-divorce life.
When your child is 12 or older, they have an opportunity to speak to the judge about their preference regarding primary care city. While no child can completely sway a judge one way or the other, a judge will consider the testimony of your child either in a hearing or their preferences outside of a hearing in their office. Remember that your child is still maturing and growing and can be swayed by temporary circumstances. For this reason, a judge will not be able to consider only their wishes when it comes to custody.
The judge in your child custody or divorce case will ask basic questions of your child to determine what is in their best interest. Remember that a link or Japan which is not then licensed therapist or family counselor. Do not expect the judge to ask your child questions on an emotional or psychological level. Rather, it is much more likely that the judge will ask more practical questions and based on what would serve your child best in their development both in the short and long term.
Additionally, the judge will likely give more weight to the preference of your child based on their age and maturity level. This means that your teenage child probably has a better perspective and is more mature than your elementary school-age child. However, even a teenager cannot provide all the evidence that a judge needs to decide child custody. If your child can display maturity in speaking with the judge, then it is more likely that a judge will take their opinions seriously; they can give more weight to what they have to say.
How can talking to the judge impact your child and their mental well-being?
The answer to this question depends on many factors that we cannot necessarily cover in today’s blog post. So much love the impact of any issue in your memoir case on your child depends on their mental state, the circumstances of your family, and the support system that you can offer to your child. Without knowing this information, it is difficult for me to provide you with an opinion as to what degree testifying in court or talking to a judge will have on your child’s mental well-being.
With that said likely, involving your child to this extent in a family law case will impact their well-being. They were testimony to the judge can certainly leave an impression on them and influence how they rule in terms of primary her city. Additionally, the experience of testifying in court or talking to a judge can leave an impression on your child. Being put into a position where your child will need to choose between you and their other parent as far as primary conservatorships is important for you to ask.
Imagine placing your child in between you and your co-parent and asking them to make a decision. Although what you are asking your child to do is not as stark as this, it is still a significant request you are making and is potentially damaging to the relationship that both you and your Co-parent have with your child. Additionally, any questions you may have regarding how your child will react to being involved in your family lowercase in this matter may require your taking your child to an experienced mental health counselor or other professional. Do not of their cell the impact that being put in this position could have other short-and long-term lives.
What is a judge looking to when making decisions regarding military child custody?
When it comes to a checklist of factors that a judge will be looking at in terms of assessing child custody for you and your family, some issues or circumstances will be more impactful than others. For instance, your rank, employment in income with your military service will be relevant. Bear in mind that your specific role in the military may play a substantial role and whether or not you could be named a primary Conservatory group child. If you are deployed or frequently away from home due to your military service, that likely will play a role in how the judge determines the quercetin of your child.
This gets back to your ability to care for your child on a physical level. Are you able to physically be present for your child and care for them? This boils down to your work schedule and wherewithal when it comes to taking care of your child on a day in and day out basis. Remember that being your child’s primary caretaker means that you cannot take a day off and need to be present for your child before and after school ends up other times. If this is something you do not think you could satisfy, then you need to consider whether or not asking for primary custody of your child is a worthwhile goal and is in your child’s best interest.
Your habits and actions as a parent are essential to a family court judge if they are asked to decide on primary custody of your children. For example, your habits, history of involvement with your child and their extracurricular activities, involvement in your community, church, or another venue will also make a difference when determining primary custody of her kids. You cannot simply change who you are at the beginning of a family law case and expect a judge to look past it.
A family court judge will not want to upset the status quo for your child. Family court judge or likely to look at your child’s life to this point and then make decisions based on who has been in the position to care for your child on a day in day out basis. For example, if you have not been a part of your child’s life consistently up until the beginning of your family law case, then you should not expect the judge to make a decision and name you as your child’s primary Conservatory. Likely, whoever has taken the lead on parenting your child on a primary basis before the divorce or child custody case will probably result in that person being named as the primary conservator of your child.
What does a family court judge look to regarding a modification of child custody orders?
It doesn’t matter if yours is a civilian or military-related case. Her family court judge will look to the circumstances of your case now, and at the time your order was issued previously before deciding whether or not to grant your request to modify those orders. Specifically, a judge would look to their circumstances and determine whether or not a material and substantial change have occurred between now in the time of year prior order. If no material in substantial change has occurred, then your request to modify the court orders will not be granted.
Specifically, the change in your circumstances must also not have been anticipated before the end of your prior child custody or divorce case. If it is safe to say that you all could have seen the change in circumstances coming in, prepared for it by negotiating your court orders differently when circ you had an opportunity after your original child custody or divorce case. Therefore, it should be pretty apparent to you that modifying the court orders is anything but simple.
Again, the best interest determination will be employed by the judge. Wherever your child ultimately ends up living on a full-time basis will be where the family court judge believes your child is best served when it comes to their short and long-term development. Simply showing that a small change has occurred in the life of you, your Co-parent or your child since the rendition of your last order is probably not enough.
What are issues regarding your child’s academic performance relevant to a judge’s best interest determination?
One of the most important factors that a judge will be looking to when determining how your child will be placed on a full-time basis after your family case is regarding their education. Along with their mental and cycle development, their educational progress will be an important benchmark in assessing which parent your child should live with on a full-time basis.
For instance, your child’s grades in school are the most objective measure of success that I can conceive of. In the discovery process, your Co-parent will likely request copies of report cards, and you should be able to do the same. Has your child been succeeding in school and completing all their coursework? Or has your child been struggling in a particular subject? Does an improvement in their grades or worse ending performance correspond with changes in custody or living circumstances?
In addition to the grades, a family court judge would likely try to learn as much as they can about your child’s extracurricular activities as well as their attendance in class. You may be surprised to learn that some parents do not place as much value on consistent attendance in school as other parents. If nothing else, family court judges want your child to be in school consistently. If you or your Co-parent have shown an inability to ensure your child has consistent attendance in school, that could be a mark against you in the eyes of our family court judge.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Military health insurance and divorce
- Military Families and Child Custody Challenges in Texas: A Comprehensive Guide
- Military Divorce and division of marital property and debt
- Can my ex get half of my VA disability? (and other military divorce questions)
- Which military branch has the highest divorce rate?
- Do military couples marry faster than other couples?
- Are military spouses unfaithful?
- Do military spouses get alimony?
- Does the military pay for the divorce?
- Navigating the Post 9/11 GI Bill and Educational Benefits Post Military Divorce
- What is the “10/10” rule in the military?
- Does my ex get half my military retirement?
- Does the military provide divorce lawyers?
- How is Texas Divorce Different for Service Members in the Military?
- How do you choose the right state for a military divorce?
Bryan Fagan, a native of Atascocita, Texas, is a dedicated family law attorney inspired by John Grisham’s “The Pelican Brief.” He is the first lawyer in his family, which includes two adopted brothers. Bryan’s commitment to family is personal and professional; he cared for his grandmother with Alzheimer’s while completing his degree and attended the South Texas College of Law at night.
Married with three children, Bryan’s personal experiences enrich his understanding of family dynamics, which is central to his legal practice. He specializes in family law, offering innovative and efficient legal services. A certified member of the College of the State Bar of Texas, Bryan is part of an elite group of legal professionals committed to ongoing education and high-level expertise.
His legal practice covers divorce, custody disputes, property disputes, adoption, paternity, and mediation. Bryan is also experienced in drafting marital property agreements. He leads a team dedicated to complex family law cases and protecting families from false CPS allegations.
Based in Houston, Bryan is active in the Houston Family Law Sector of the Houston Bar Association and various family law groups in Texas. His deep understanding of family values and his professional dedication make him a compassionate advocate for families navigating Texas family law.