Recently, we had a case where I was able to observe a husband become a “helicopter” parent. He used his new-found involvement with the children to strongly negotiate for additional time with the children and reduced child support. At the time, those involved with the case did not suspect that this behavior of his was a trick.
However, after the divorce, his behavior led the mother to believe he had just been putting on a show and had negotiated in bad faith. In this blog, we will discuss what happened so that our readers can learn by example in case they are faced with a similar scenario.
The Suddenly Newly Involved Parent
The wife in our story filed for divorce and then observed her once arguably absentee father become very involved with the children.
Before she filed, he did not attend the children’s events such as sports or other school activities; however, he was now very involved. He was also now volunteering to take the kids to school, helping to prepare meals for the children, and taking them to their doctors’ appointments.
It seemed like a miracle that now after the wife filed for divorce, her husband had turned into a very hands-on parent.
A Dream Come True
In our case, the wife was excited; she thought it was great her husband was now showing an interest in the children. She was not suspicious and did not think he was playing games or trying trick her. In this case, the husband and wife came up with their own visitation schedule. It involved 50/50 time with the children.
In their order, the husband was still going to pay the wife child support and the wife was still going to be the “primary parent.” However, because of the more equalized time, the husband was going to pay below guideline child support.
However, after the divorce, she became convinced he never had any intention of exercising his hard fought for time with the children. Instead, she now believes he only maximized his time with the children to argue for below guideline child support.
What convinced her was that soon after the divorce, the husband took a new job in a new state and moved away. There was no way he was going to be able to exercise 50/50 time. This meant that she was going to be doing practically everything for the children without his help. To top it off, she was also going to be receiving less than guideline child support.
How to Prevent This Trick from Happening to You
Knowing if someone is attempting to pull this trick can be difficult. I have definitely observed situations when a parent truly does want to spend more time with the children.
Our office has also seen people that were inspired to either work on their marriage or their family once they realized that things had suddenly become very real. So, the fact that a parent may be inspired to make changes and strive to be a better parent is not unrealistic.
However, it is also common for one parent to try and become very involved to try and avoid or minimize child support. In this case, the wife needed to talk to her lawyer to develop a plan on how to handle the husband’s actions.
What I like to tell my clients is that I like for them to be in control of the situation.
For example, there is no reason the order could not have involved standard visitation and guideline child support. If the parents wanted to deviate from that visitation schedule, they still could have even though there is an order as long as they agree. It is only when parents disagree that the order matters.
The same goes for guideline child support. If the wife decides to give him back some of his child support obligations, that is her right.
What Happened in the Case Scenario Above
Ultimately, the mother decided to file a motion for new trial based on her husband’s deception. The judge ruled against the mother. He was not very sympathetic as she had been represented by an attorney and had agreed to the order.
That is not to say the mother did not have a remedy; she was just going to have to do it through a new case and not through a divorce. She would need to file to modify the order based on a substantial change in circumstance.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with ar Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
A divorce lawyer in Spring TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.