If you are a parent who is going through a divorce then it is likely that you are most concerned about what will happen to your children as a result of your case. Not knowing exactly where your child will be laying their head at night can be enough to cause you to think of little else. Fortunately for you, the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan have collected our thoughts on this subject will continue to share with you some thoughts on this subject today.
Pay close attention to how you parent your child
Every parent has their own “style” when it comes to caring for their children. It is not my place nor is it my purpose to second guess the style that you choose to implement in your household. What I do aim to provide you with today are some pointers as to how a court may judge your interactions with your child should they become a relevant issue in your divorce case.
Many parents have thoughts go through their mind on occasion that they need to do something to improve their relationship with their children. You may count yourself among this group and there is nothing wrong with having thoughts like this. However, considering the stress that your relationship with your children is under during a divorce and now would be an appropriate time to begin to take those positive steps towards improving your relationship with your kids.
For instance, you should seriously evaluate how you are or are not taking advantage of the time that you are afforded with your children. In yesterday’s blog post we discussed how the days of you being able to see your child whenever you would like are probably gone for the most part. What you are left with are portions of time during any given week that you have the right to be with your child. When it is your turn I suggest that you take a step back and examine how it is that you are spending this time with your children.
Are you peppering them for information about your ex-spouse or their new significant other? Are you paying more attention to your cell phone than your children? If so then you probably ought to minimize distractions and remember to focus on your child and your relationship with him or her. Another tip that goes alongside this one is, to be honest with yourself when it comes to parenting your child. 4
For instance, if you have not been the most involved parent to this point in your child’s life it does not make a ton of sense to all of a sudden be the omnipresent, doting parent that you would like to be in the best case scenario. Be true to yourself and don’t use the divorce as an opportunity to “put on a show” for a judge. It will be pretty transparent that you are trying to make up for lost time if you all of a sudden act like you are the parent of the year.
Put your child’s interests ahead of your own- seriously
Sometimes what is best for you is not what is best for your child. While you may feel like what your child needs more than anything is to live with you on a full-time basis, in actuality your child may benefit most from continuing to see their mother on a full-time basis and have you available as a parent with frequent visitation opportunities. Maybe your child needs to be closer to their school, doctors or other people and your new residence in nowhere close to those locations. While it is commendable that you want to be with your child as much as possible, it is more commendable to do what your child needs you to as far as decision making is concerned.
Do not feel the need to tell your child about every aspect of your divorce
There is a fine line between honest with your child about your divorce and filling him or her on every single detail from your case. If your child asks questions it is important that you be able to reassure him or her about your case, your life and how big a role your child plays within it. However, it is not necessary for you to divulge every last frustration, insecurity, and emotion that you have about your case to your child.
If you need to express feelings about your case to anyone please seek professional help from a counselor or therapist. In the event that you are a religious person then a fellow church-goer, pastor, priest or other leaders would likely be more than happy to counsel you on the issues that are going through. A friend or family member would also be a good choice to talk to about your case. Your child wants to know about your divorce only as it relates to him or her. That is how children function- they are really only able to conceive of you in the larger framework of how you impact them. Spare your child every detail about your case and provide the reassurance that he or she needs and leave it at that.
Keep your child in school and do not move him or her around
A lot of people that go through divorce feel like they are being cornered by their spouse and need to act defensively as a result. One fairly common issue that attorneys run into during divorces is a parent (their own client or the opposing client) who will remove their child from school without prior notice to anyone- even the other parent. This puts everyone in a really bad situation.
For starters, if you remove your child from school in an attempt to hide him or her you are harming your case a great deal. Doing so will likely violate one of the most important temporary orders that are in place for your case. Whether your child is in daycare or school he or she should not have their academics interrupted due to the divorce of their parents.
The solution to whatever problem(s) you are facing within your divorce will not be solved by you hiding your child from your spouse. If you are found to be responsible for removing your child from their school without permission you can be made to pay your spouse's attorney's fees and face other penalties as well. There is not only any justification for doing so, but the harm to your pocketbook can be quite substantial. Don't do it.
Stay sober for the duration of the divorce
Even if drugs and alcohol are not an issue in your divorce it is wise to be cautious when it comes to using drugs and alcohol. Obviously, doing illegal drugs is not a smart thing and can land you in severe legal trouble potentially. It can also harm your physical health a great deal which is not smart in any situation, especially one where you are going through a physically and emotionally taxing event like a divorce.
If drugs and alcohol are a major issue in your divorce then you will likely have to stay sober or risk losing rights and duties associated with raising your children. Random drug and alcohol tests can be ordered by judges in conjunction with your divorce case and on into your post-divorce life. Without any time to clean up your act before being made to take a drug test, it is not wise to tempt fate. There is very little for you to gain and a great deal for you to potentially lose by falling prey to the temptation to consume alcohol or drugs.
Failure to pay child support does not justify withholding your children from your spouse
It is understandable to be upset with a spouse when he or she does not pay you child support as ordered during the temporary orders phase of your divorce. You are not even to the post-divorce phase of your life and he or she is already not living up to their end of the bargain when it comes to following court orders. You can be made to feel powerless when it comes to this issue and many parents have had to face the realities of this situation that you are going through.
However, this does not justify your withholding your children from your spouse during periods of possession that he or she are entitled to under those same court orders. Just like your mom used to tell you when you are a kid: two wrongs don’t make a right. As in- just because your spouse has done something wrong to you, as in failed to pay you timely child support, does not mean that you can go and do something wrong to him.
In the event that your spouse fails to pay you child support- either during or after your divorce has concluded- your remedy is to file a child support enforcement case that seeks to have him pay you the back child support, attorney’s fees and any other sum of money allowed under the circumstances by the Texas Family Code. Do not attempt to take matters into your own hands. The denial of visitation by you is an offense that can result in your spouse filing their own enforcement case against you.
Don’t quit your day job- literally
Many people will attempt to game the system by quitting their jobs on purpose in order to gain employment that does not pay as well. In most circumstances, this would not make any sense but in a divorce, there is a method to this madness. The reason why some people would choose to do this is by reducing their income, your spouse could artificially decrease the amount of money that he would be legally obligated to pay in child support.
I'll give you an example of this happening. Say your spouse works as an account manager for a major company here in Houston. For the past four years, he has earned upwards of $100,000 per year. As a result of that substantial income. The potential child support obligation that he would be on the hook for would be substantial, relatively speaking. He could, if he chose to, transition at work to a sales associate job that earned him $60,000. His justification for the decrease in pay could be that the company is downsizing and is now taking all upper-level management positions and folding them into the sales team.
However, if it comes to light that your spouse did this on their own volition and was not forced into it by the company, your spouse could still be ordered to pay child support on their former $100,000 salary. Most instances of intentional underemployment involve people taking new jobs for new businesses in order to deflate their child support obligations. If you work out the math it never makes sense to do this. Ultimately you are hurting your kids and your career in making rash and hasty decisions such as this one. Remain at your job, pay your child support and save your money
Don’t make a bad situation even worse
We all know that divorces are unpleasant but there are ways to make a bad time even worse. In tomorrow's blog post from the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we will discuss this subject in greater detail.
If you are interested in speaking to one of our licensed family law attorneys about the information that we wrote about in today’s blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our team of ten attorneys are available six days a week to discuss your case and to go over any questions you may have. Thank you for your time and attention today and we hope that you will join us again tomorrow.
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Other Articles you may be interested in regarding Houston Court Local Rules:
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- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- When Can a Minor Child Weigh in on Custody Decisions in Texas?
- Texas Child Custody Modifications
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- Teens with Children, Child Custody and Child Support in Texas
- Child Custody and Divorce in Spring, TX
- Custody and Visitation Rights of Grandparents in Texas
- 11 Things You Must Know About Texas Child Custody
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Kingwood 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 Kingwood, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
A divorce lawyer in Kingwood 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, Houston, 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.