There is no question that as a law enforcement officer, you are someone who seeks out difficult objectives and seeks to solve them. Being a team-oriented and goal-oriented person means that you want to do what is best for the people that you work with and those in your community. This is probably the main reason why you are serving as a law enforcement officer. Your experiences in law enforcement will hopefully serve you well as you go through a family law case such as a divorce or child custody case.
Protecting those around you is what you do in your day job but protecting your relationship with your child is something that matters, as well, and is even closer to your heart. Going out of your way to make time for your child is something that you have become accustomed to since you started working in law enforcement. With an atypical schedule and long hours on top of that, you need to take advantage of every opportunity presented to you when it comes to spending time with your child. Now that you are going through a family law case you are even more focused on building and maintaining a strong relationship with your little one.
The idea of losing a lot of time with your child because of a family law case has crossed your mind and is causing you some grief. After all the hard work and sacrifice you have made for your child, it is now a possibility that you may not be able to spend as much time with your child as you would like. So much seems to be out of your control in a divorce or child custody case. You're starting to wonder whether a judge will hold it against you that you work a job that requires you to be out of the house all the time. Do you have any chance of achieving reasonable goals in a child custody case? Are you doomed to being left out of your child's life now that he has to split time between your home and that of your co-parent?
When it comes to serving your community and being a parent, the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are here to tell you that you can do your job and do it well while also being a devoted parent. However, it is going to take some planning on your part to achieve both goals. Rather than worry unnecessarily, why not work with one of our experienced family law attorneys to learn more about the world of Texas family law? By working with our office, you have access to Southeast Texas' most impressive, experienced, and client-centered team of attorneys in family law. Schedule a free-of-charge consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys today.
The realities of serving and protecting your community
What separates law enforcement officers from the public, besides unyielding bravery and commitment to their community, is that they have a career that requires them to work outside the home and be on call even when they are not working. So, while other people may need to work outside the home, they know that when their work hours or shift is done, they can go home and not think about work. By the same token, while other people may need to be on call to work, at least they can check into the office remotely if need be. As a law enforcement officer, you have double the challenges of most people when it comes to this subject matter.
You need to be able to think about your work commitments and what that all entails regarding your desired outcomes and goals with a family law case. If you are committed to law enforcement and it is unlikely that you can choose your hours the next aspect of our discussion is how are you going to build a possession schedule for your child that can accommodate your need to parent with your work responsibilities. What are your options as far as protecting yourself and your child if you are called into work suddenly and need to also be with your son?
Being in law enforcement, as a general statement will not impact your rights to your children as far as being able to spend time with them and being able to make decisions on your behalf. Ultimately what will make a difference in your life and theirs as far as your role as a parent moving forward will be how much time you can spend with and the extent to which you will be able to take care of your children. This is a common concern that many law enforcement officers have. Additionally, fathers in a general sense are often concerned more than moms about the role that they will be able to play in the lives of their children moving forward after a divorce or child custody case.
The attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan have had the opportunity to represent many fathers who have gone through a family law case. Dads who work in a variety of jobs share with us their concerns at the outset of a case and those concerns almost always have something to do with being worried about how much of an influence he will be able to have on the life of his child. Are you feeling the same way? Have you heard stories or rumors about how judges always favor moms in custody situations? If that is what you have been hearing, I would like to take a detour for a moment and talk to you about how fathers can approach divorce cases.
What to think when you are a father heading into a family law case
Many fathers who go through family law cases have concerns regarding how they are going to be viewed by a judge. There are stories as old as time that lead men to believe that courts automatically favor mothers over fathers when it comes to custody issues. Some men have even told me that they assumed that the law specifically favored mothers over fathers when it came to custody questions. We should examine this question more closely. After all, if you are a father and law enforcement officer you are facing a double challenge in your family law case if all of this turns out to be true.
First of all, no law on the books in Texas tells a family court judge to favor women over men, mothers over fathers when it comes to custody questions. If that is something that you have heard over time, then you heard wrong. The law treats mothers and fathers equally. So, if you are wanting to engage in a family law case but are worried to do so because you think it’s going to be a waste of time because you are a man and a law enforcement officer then I am here to tell you that your concerns are unfounded.
What you should know is that women more often than men are the primary caretaker of children in a family. I am not saying that every family has the mom as the primary caretaker of kids. I am also not saying that men are not good parents compared to women. All I am saying is that often women end up being the primary caretaker of the kids for several reasons. As a law enforcement officer, you are probably aware of several circumstances in your life which have led you to not always be available to care for your children. Whatever the circumstances may have been in this situation it is the reality for you and your family that your spouse has more often been the person who is at home with the kids. Working in law enforcement means having a job that requires you to be outside the home. It's tough to police or enforce the law from your recliner, after all.
This means that you have done nothing wrong but that the circumstances of a family law case may favor your wife in some respects if only because she has availability and flexibility with her daytime hours compared to you. While you have earned a living for your family your spouse has tended the home front. This is not exactly a unique division of labor. If you have made every effort to be available for your children, then you should be praised for having done so. It is not easy to balance the work/life of a law enforcement officer. I'm sure you know many men and women who struggle mightily to make time for their kids after a tough day at work. That you do not fall into that category should leave you feeling proud. However, it does not mean that a court will view your interactions and care with any of your children on the same level as that of your spouse.
The bottom line for you as a husband, father, and law enforcement officer is that participating in a family law case is not something that you need to hang your head about. Your role as a father in the future, however, will depend on your role as a father in the past. If you have been an involved and diligent dad to your children, then that experience will serve you well in your family law case. If you have not been all that involved in the life of your children, there is no better time to start that relationship than right now. Working with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan and our experienced family law attorneys are a great way to level the playing field if you feel like you are playing from behind or from a disadvantaged position.
What does a law enforcement officer mean to your ability to parent your child?
In the past, you may have been able to lean on your spouse for those moments when you were called into work unexpectedly. She could watch the kids without you if you needed to fill in for a co-worker or if an event or incident required extra help. However, now that you are heading into a family law case it is the reality of your situation that you will not have your spouse around to assist you with custody in the same way. True, she and you are co-parents and are charged with the responsibility of caring for your kids. However, what this also means is that your co-parent is going to rely upon you to live up to your end of the bargain as far as custody time is concerned.
How you negotiate your specific custody schedule is important. While you may be able to have a typical custody schedule with your children, all other things being equal, it is probably also the case that you will have times during the month when you are called into work unexpectedly. This will interfere with your possession schedule and can cause problems between you and your co-parent. The best information that I can provide you with is to be upfront with your co-parent both during the divorce and afterward. If something is going to be a problem for you then that is something that you should be upfront about. Do not ignore a problem and expect that it won't come up again or won't be an issue. It almost certainly will be and can result in hurt feelings with your children and an annoyed co-parent. Do not bite off more than you can chew when it comes to possession time with your children.
What is your “Plan B” for when you are called in to work during a day off? Do you have someone in your life who can step up and care for your children if you are not there? This is not an ideal situation to be in as far as needing someone else to care for your children during one of your periods of possession. However, it helps to have someone like this waiting just in case you need help should you be called in to work unexpectedly. Many times, parents will even include the name and information of the person that they select to take care of their children if they have to go to work at the last minute.
Or, another option for you all to consider is to implement a right of first refusal for your family to include in the final decree of divorce. A right of first refusal includes the requirement for you to contact your ex-spouse if you are not going to be available for your period of possession with your children. It does not matter if you are going to be unavailable because you are sick, working or another emergency has come up. All that you need to do in this situation is to let your co-parent know as soon as you can when you are not going to be available. She will have the option to get back to you in a certain amount of time to let you know whether she would like to keep the kids with her. If she is not able to keep the kids, then the two of you would need to work out a plan for who can watch the children.
In a practical situation, the above circumstances can play out like this. Suppose that you were on your way to pick up the kids for weekend visitation on a Friday when you get a call from work saying you need to come in and pick up someone's shift who is sick. You would immediately call your co-parent and let her know about the situation. She would then have the option to either keep the kids with her or to allow the kids to go with the person designated in the divorce decree as the fill-in or substitute parent when you need to work. That person could be a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or other relative.
Law enforcement officers sacrifice themselves daily for the betterment of their community. That characteristic will serve you well as a parent in a post-divorce or post-child custody situation. For you to continue to parent your child as effectively as you always have, however, you need to have a plan. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are here to help you develop a plan based on your specific circumstances. We have done that for many law enforcement officers, and we would be honored to do so for you, as well.
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