You may be involved in a divorce case with your wife, but if you are a Texas father your primary concern is probably that you will not be able to have the same relationship with your children that you had prior to the filing of the divorce. Whether you were the most involved dad in the world or something less than that, I think all fathers have some degree of worry within them that the divorce process will not treat them fairly compared to their wife.
Movies, television and horror stories from friends and family have led these men to believe that the law favors mothers over fathers when it comes to time with the children as well as rights and duties for those children. With all of the negative thoughts and energy that goes into holding beliefs like this there is no wonder why many fathers in Texas simply cede primary conservatorship to their wives in divorce cases. After all- what’s the point of fighting and spending money on an issue that in the end will be decided in favor of the mother?
Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC will discuss this topic in detail. Specifically, I would like to shed some light on this subject for all of the parents out there are going through a divorce or believe a divorce to be in their not too distant future.
Ups and downs of divorce are amplified when children are involved
After having spoken to many clients of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC after their divorce has been finalized, the common response to the question of, “What was your divorce like for you, personally?”, is that there are many ups and downs in the case. Some aspects of the case went well and were favorable to our client. Others were harder to handle and maybe didn’t go exactly how we had planned.
When you throw a child or two (or three, or four, etc.) into the mix it becomes even more emotional due to the fact that you are negotiating and working with your attorney to receive the most time and greatest rights to your children as possible given your specific circumstances.
For some fathers, this means at the very least getting a set schedule of time each week that he can see his children. If you have a spouse who has separated herself and your children from you then you know first hand how hard it is to go without seeing your kids for an extended period of time. Other fathers have always had the opportunity to play an active role in their children’s lives and their desire is for this to continue after the divorce.
Whatever your specific circumstances you should know that a divorce will cause you to feel highs and lows that you maybe had never felt before when it comes to your children. Fortunately with an experienced family law attorney at your side you are able to determine your goals at the outset of your case and work towards achieving them in an efficient manner.
Shared custody time with your wife is a realistic possibility
As a father I want to give you hope that if your goal in your divorce is to win split or “50/50” custody of your children then this is an achievable outcome to be sure. In years past, it was very difficult for even involved fathers to be on equal footing compared to their wives if custody issues were being contested in a divorce. There was a societal and legal presumption that children (especially young children) were better off living with their mothers than with their fathers.
While younger children, specifically those under the age of three, are more often placed primarily with their mothers, older children thrive with either parent. A court will be looking into which parent offers the better home life for a child. Basically, a judge will need to determine what is in the best interest of your child. There is no favor provided to mothers in the Texas Family Code and judges are warned against placing favor upon either you or your spouse due to gender.
Primary conservatorship should not be sought in order to avoid paying child support
On the other hand, I have met with and been involved in many family law cases and have heard many mothers who assert that the only reason their spouse is fighting to get primary conservatorship of the kids is to avoid paying child support. Reason being is that if your kids live with you primarily you do not have to pay child support. On the contrary it is likely that your spouse would be receiving child support under these circumstances.
Keep in mind, however, that if you are not paying child support that does not mean that you are not going to pay for other aspects of your children’s lives. Clothes, doctor’s visits, college savings, etc. are inherent in the raising of a child in our world today. The idea that avoiding child support means getting off scot-free from other payments is not realistic, either.
Changes with the times is good if you are a father going through divorce
Gone, for the most part, are the days of mothers staying home to raise children and fathers going out into the world to earn an income to support the family. While this is certainly still a lifestyle that many families choose, most do not. The majority of families from my experience are dual income households where mothers and fathers earn a living for their family.
This means that parents, by necessity, share in the parenting responsibilities that previously were held mostly by mothers. Fathers, generally speaking, are much more involved in their children’s day to day lives now than in years past. If you are a father who is going through a divorce and wants to share custody with your wife on a 50/50 basis then this should be music to your ears.
The reason why this is favorable for involved and active fathers is that a court is not going to allow for an absentee father to suddenly assert himself into the lives of his children during a tumultuous time like during a divorce. With that said- the reason why fathers like yourself are more able to win custody settlements that are favorable is not a result of the laws in divorce changing but has more to do with the attitudes towards parenting evolving as time progresses.
Lastly- child support used to be a means by which many women could not work and continue to stay home with their children on a full time basis once the divorce has been finalized. Well, those days are long gone for the most part. Child support amounts are a reflection of the number of children you have and the income of your spouse. If you earn an average salary and have only one child, the child support you will either pay or receive will not be substantial enough in all likelihood to sustain a household. Mothers are now going to work in large numbers after divorce not because it is ordered but because it is necessary.
Interesting in learning more about divorce and the rights of fathers? Come back to our blog tomorrow
This is an important topic for fathers and mothers to be aware of so I encourage you to return tomorrow as we wrap up this subject before moving onto another in the world of Texas family law.
If you have any questions or seek clarification on the information that we went over today please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. We take great pride in helping people that live in our community achieve favorable results in family law cases of all varieties.
To schedule a consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys please contact us today. These consultations are in our office and are free of charge. You can ask us your questions and receive advice and answers that can help you plan and prepare for whatever circumstances you are facing.