When it comes to subjects relating to parenting, I can think of no more stressful and difficult-to-digest topic than losing custody or losing parental rights. It can feel like A punch to your stomach to learn that the relationship with your child may be harmed due to forces in circumstances that are largely beyond your control. Many times, those of us who work in family law will become acquainted with a parent who is running into trouble due to an addiction to drugs or alcohol or due to problems with anger or other emotions. These parents will oftentimes have a history with Child Protective Services and may have a history with the law on previous occasions.
Without a doubt, working through issues related to Texas family law can be difficult enough when you don’t have overarching problems associated with your parenting skills and your ability not to violate the law. Problems like these are complex enough where it is not fair to argue that all it takes is to decide to stop behaving in ways that may ruin your relationship with your children. These are complex issues where a great deal of thought and attention needs to be paid for progress to be made in a family.
Hopefully, issues like this are not relevant to you and your family. What may be more relevant to you in your household is an even more pervasive problem these days, Namely that of economic insecurity. If you are a parent who has lost your job or has had your hours decreased at work for reasons related to the pandemic, you may be left scratching your head trying to figure out how you will put food on the table to provide for your family. If you add to these lingering questions problems with managing a contentious family log case, then your plate is certainly full.
There are two types of scenarios that I am contemplating as we get into the subject matter of today’s blog post. The first involves you as a married person 2 is getting ready to go through a divorce. While you may not have lost your job, you may be staring at the possibility of needing to find work despite never having worked before or having been out of the workforce for many years. On the other hand, you may be a single parent who is recently lost your job to the government-led shutdowns and slowdowns of the economy. Due to persisting problems in your household from a financial perspective, you may have learned that your ex-spouse is trying to fight you for primary custody of the children. What options do you have is apparent if you find yourself in either of these positions?
What is the importance of steady employment in a Texas family law case?
One of the most straightforward questions a person can ask regarding their family law case is their employment status’s impact on the case. While money isn’t everything in life, it can certainly make the Gears of life run a lot more smoothly. Anyone questioning the importance of money in our lives needs to ask a person without knowing how they feel on this subject. Regardless of your views personally on money, wealth, and financial status, the fact remains that all of these considerations are important in a Texas family log case.
Right off the bat, Texas family law cases will typically incorporate into them children. If you are the parent of a child, then you realize just how important it is for you to have consistent income in your household. That truth is never more apparent than during this pandemic. We have all become hamstrung to a certain extent by the government LED closures of business and industry in general. If you work in oil and gas or hospitality, then you know for certain that your job prospects have taken a hit over the past year.
Family law cases cause judges to turn to the best interests of the child standard for viewing circumstances and making decisions on how best to arrange a child’s life moving forward. While providing wealth and comfort for a child can be important, it is more important for that child to have the basics of life regarding shelter, clothing, food, and education. If you can provide your child all these things, then it is likely that you would be given a great deal of consideration for being the primary conservator of your child.
On the other hand, if you cannot provide your child with the essentials of life, you will have a much more difficult time as far as being named as the primary caretaker of your children. Keep in mind that you and your opposing parent will be going head to head in some circumstances regarding these important questions of raising your child and what rights and duties each of you should hold about your child. If you are interested in becoming the primary conservator of your child, you will have the ability to receive child support from your child’s other parent. On the other hand, it is not a good idea for you to rely completely on The Child Support of the other parent to sustain your household.
From the outset of your divorce, not having a job can impact you in many ways. For starters, having a job is important when it comes to paying household bills during the pendency of a divorce. Keep in mind that if your spouse were to move out of your home, the household bills do not suddenly stop. You would need to work out a plan with your co-parent to make sure that household bills are still paid even while the divorce is ongoing. However, it may mean that you have to take on some degree of responsibility for these daily bills that households receive. An inability to pay the bills due to a lack of a job could put you in a position where you are more reliant on your spouse than other people in your situation may be.
Next, you have to consider that you may be limited as far as your ability to hire an attorney is concerned without a job. I would always recommend hiring an attorney in a divorce or child custody case if your circumstances involved children. Having someone available to lean on for advice and guide you during the case is incredibly important. Additionally, making a short-term investment into an attorney can be a great plan in that making sure your case gets off the ground correctly can save you both time and money in the future.
Lacking a job means you likely lack income. Lacking income means that you are more likely to live once a month or even week to week when subsistence. Being in this economic circumstance does not make it easy for you to hire or obtain an attorney. This puts you at a significant disadvantage when compared to your Co-parent when facing a family law case. Although you can represent yourself in a family law case, I would not recommend it. It is much more practical for you to have an attorney representing you in a case than to represent yourself.
Additionally, as your divorce case stretches on, you have to come to terms with what will happen to your marital home. For example, consider your living circumstances if you are a soon-to-be single mother who has either worked quite a little or not throughout your married life. In that case, all mortgage payments likely flowed through the income of your spouse. If you want to put yourself in a situation where you could remain in that house after the divorce, you need to be comfortable with paying the mortgage payments.
Paying those mortgage payments without a job would be next to impossible, even with significant child support or spousal maintenance. Furthermore, if you are dependent upon your ex-spouse to make payments of these sorts to you each month, then there is a decent chance that somewhere along the line, those payments will be missed here in their period; this puts you in a precarious situation when it comes to paying household bills including the Mortgage. For this reason, many times in a divorce, a person in your circumstance may choose to have the house sold rather than to remain in it, even if that would be better for all parties.
Simply put, we do not want to place ourselves into a situation where you have bitten off more than you can chew as far as finances are concerned after divorce. The more income you have, the more wealth you have built for yourself and your family, the more you can bite off and choose successfully. Inversely, the lower your income unless you were able to take on as far as financial responsibilities. Not having a job could mean looking for an apartment or even staying with family or friends after a divorce. This could cost you your ability to be named the primary caretaker for your children after divorce or a child custody case.
Losing your job after court orders are already in place
let’s imagine a situation where you have been named the primary conservator of your children in a divorce. You have lived as a single person for years after the divorce without issue. You aren’t making a ton of money, but you are doing enough to get by. Then the pandemic hits any lose your job. You have done all you can to locate temporary employment when possible, but for the most part, you have struggled to maintain consistent employment over that time. It is becoming apparent that you cannot meet the financial demands of your post-divorce life, even with child support payments coming in from your ex-husband. Needless to say, these are not desirable circumstances.
Then one day, out of the blue, you receive legal documentation filed by your ex-husband in the same court where you got divorced. He has filed a modification lawsuit against you, arguing that is substantial and material changes have occurred in your life since the rendition of your divorce orders. He believes that your lack of income and job prospects has impacted your household to such an extent that you can no longer offer the best circumstances for your children daily. In other words, he is arguing that he should be named as the primary conservator of your children given your job loss.
What would you do if you found yourself in these circumstances? Would you know how to proceed, or would you choose to retreat into a corner and not fight back against the modification attempt of your ex-husband? The fact is that even if your ex-husband were not successful in this lawsuit, you would still need to be able to find suitable employment to cause your household to run as simply as possible. A modification lawsuit of this sort would not be out of the ordinary considering your circumstances.
Another situation where your custody rights to your children may be impacted if you lose your job would be if you were ordered 2 make payments to your ex-husband after a divorce regarding settling your community property division. It could have happened that in exchange for you keeping the house, you would need to pay out your ex-spouse there shared the equity in the home over some time. For example, you may have had to agree to pay your ex-spouse 10 payments of $5000 each to level him up for his share in the equity in the home.
Could your ex-husband file an enforcement lawsuit against you and threaten to take away your children if you could not pay him according to the terms in your final decree of divorce? The answer to the first part of that question is yes. He certainly could file an enforcement lawsuit against you seeking to enforce those terms in the final decree of divorce you to pay him a certain number each month or every year. However, he would not be able to threaten to take away your children or even to request primary conservatorships as a result. The failure to pay child support or pay any other sum of money in conjunction with the divorce is unlikely to result in your children being taken out of your custody.
The importance of economic stability in a home
Having money or even a little bit of wealth can open up a lot of doors for you. Many of us have come to think about wealth almost in negative terms as something to be avoided or equality not to be looked highly upon by other people. However, I think this is not a great way to approach this subject. Rather, we could look at wealth as a tool to accomplish different goals by. Sure, some people misuse wealth, but many others use wealth to benefit the lives of those around them. There is likely no one else in your life you would rather benefit from money than your child.
Having said that, the lack of wealth or even a job in the context of a family law case can hurt you. In extreme cases, the lack of income and the lack of prospects to earn the income can cause you to suffer detriment when it comes to being named the primary conservator of your children. Remember that a judge would be looking at your circumstances and making decisions based on the best interests of your children. If it is determined that you do not offer the best possible living arrangement for your child, and your spouse wants to be named as the primary Conservatory for the child, then it is likely that your lack of a job could be used as a factor against naming you as primary conservator. Being a mother, in my opinion, would not help your cause or help you avoid any negativity associated with your lack of income or a job.
Questions about the material presented in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
if you have any questions about the material presented in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation 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 your circumstances. We look forward to the opportunity to speak to you about your case in the family and appreciate your interest in our law office.