If you are in the military and are going through a divorce, then one of the first questions you might have is whether or not you must hire an attorney to represent you in your divorce. Whether or not you need an attorney is likely dependent upon the circumstances of her case. For the most part, I recommended people that they had a higher attorney to represent them if they have children or a substantial amount of property. In these situations, it is better to be safe than sorry when hiring an attorney.
For one, when it comes to your relationship with your children, you must help ensure that they can spend time with you consistently. If you are a military member, you are probably in a position where your do you have not been able to spend as much time with your children as you would like due to your responsibilities and obligations in your military service. As a result, the time with your children is even more important; you are going to want to make sure that rather than relying upon the goodwill of your Co-parent consistently that you can have orders in place that are easily enforceable and clear to understand for you and your Co-parent moving forward.
Children thrive on consistency and stability. This is true when it comes to their schooling and health, especially when it comes to custody and possession situations. From my experience representing military members and their families, you have already been through a great deal in terms of your ability to spend time with your children consistently. Why leave anything to risk when it comes to custody otherwise? You can be represented by an attorney in your child custody circumstances. Whether that is an attorney who can assist you in your case through your military branch or a private attorney that you hire, there is no reason for you to fret about representation, especially if you have options and a plan.
What factors are important when it comes to education issues and your children?
In a family law case but deals with children, one of the most important factors that will be looked into is those that relate to education and educational achievement for your child. Let's think about things in terms of how a family court judge would view your arguments if you were attempting to be named as the primary conservator of your child. If you are asking the court to have your children live with you primarily, then the onus is on you to show you can take care of your children regarding the most important activity that they perform, namely that of attending school.
First, their grades will be crucial. Everything else falls by the wayside if you consider that their grades need to be improving while they are with you in your home. Conversely, if your children currently do not reside with you primarily, then you would need to be able to show that your child's grades are suffering while they are with their other parent. There are always several details regarding educational performance, and we do not have space in this blog post to get into all of them. However, suffice it to say that you are Child's performance in the classroom is essential to your being able to offer a strong argument to be named as they are conservator primarily.
Next, the degree to which your child has attended school consistently is another factor that must be considered. For example, if your Co-parent can show that your child is frequently late to class or absent, then these are factors that a family court judge must consider. For example, regarding absences, your child needs to be able to attend school consistently not only be able to not only to be able to move on in their studies but also from the standpoint of getting on a routine and consistently being able to attend class is important in that regard.
Additionally, we looked at the factors like you can attend school as directly proportional to your health. I know that from personal experience, when your child is sick, it can seem like their colds last for an inordinate amount of time. Well, my children are younger than school-aged if your child is school-aged and missing quite a bit of time at school due to sickness or other illness, then this can be a factor that a judge would look to in terms of your ability not only to keep your child healthy but keep your child in school consistently.
Another factor that is somewhat less important than others but still meaningful is your child's ability to engage in extracurricular activities. This is a factor that is more important for older children than for younger ones. If your child has played baseball or been in dance for several years, then that is likely an important part of their identity, and you must be able to help your child get through the day today's educational requirements so that they can take part in their extracurricular activities of choice. A judge would likely hear testimony and receive evidence about your and your Co parent's history of promoting and encouraging these types of activities.
How do you discipline your child?
Next, we would need to consider how you and your Co-parent discipline your child. Any parent can tell you that there is often a wide gap between how you and a similarly situated parent would discipline your kids. The reality of the situation is that different parents discipline their children in different ways and often receive similar results no matter the method they employ. Discipline in the home can vary based on your upbringing, your time with your children, and even things like your cultural background. Different groups of people tend to place different amounts of emphasis on discipline.
Discipline in the home becomes an issue if that discipline tends to become an issue regarding physical disciplining such as spanking. I don't think it is out of line to say that spanking has fallen out of favor with many parents in society at large here in our country. Whether or not you employ spanking as a method of disciplining your kids is not relevant to me. However, what is relevant is that depending on the judge you have, it could be an issue if either you or your Co-parent utilize spanking as a method of discipline more often than not.
Even if you're spanking has never God overboard or ever harmed your child physically, it is not uncommon to see physical discipline like spanking utilized as an excuse or an opportunity for the other parent to make you look bad in front of the judge or at least cause your stress levels to increase by making that an issue in your divorce. If this is the case, you should expect are the disciplinary history of your child to become an issue in the case for better or worse.
Another issue regarding discipline is regarding the structure of your home and your ability to present clear, consistent, and stable outcomes for your child when it comes to their daily routines. Again, your child thrives in an environment where they can receive consistent discipline and feedback. The other circumstances of your life are less important than your ability to produce consistent returns for your child. It doesn't matter that their child faces certain challenges in their life but what does matter is your ability to turn those challenges into opportunities for your child through how you raised them.
Do you have chores at your home? Can you encourage your child to assist with household work more, allowing them to balance their free time and own activities amid those responsibilities? Do you provide feedback to your child and positive reinforcement when appropriate? If your case were to come down to a bench trial in front of a judge, these are the factors that I think would be especially important. One of the major issues you see in divorce or post-divorce modification cases is that parents sometimes will fail to discipline their children in hopes of getting favorable treatment from that child in the event of another family law case.
If your Co-parent plans not to discipline your child to get on their good side, then I think that is a mistake. Rather, you and your Co-parent need to be on the same page in providing discipline instability in raising your child together as Co-parents. This is true both during the divorce case as you are getting used to life separated from one another and in your post-divorce life as single parents. There is no doubt that there will be some transition time and learning how to manage these difficulties together. However, during a family law case, we have a great deal of time to learn how to co-parent and manage the challenges of raising children as a team.
You want to avoid a situation where your child can manipulate you and your Co-parent in terms of how you discipline your child. For example, if you are more of a disciplinarian than your Co-parent, then you may find that your child tends to favor spending time with your Co-parent than you in some situations given your propensity to discipline your child and provide them with structure as opposed to your Co-parent who is more of a free spirit and willing to allow your child to spend their time the way that they would want. This is especially tempting for young children if they want to try to pit parents against one another to curry favor with the other parent.
For that reason, you need to be consistent with your Co-parent about how you choose to discipline your children. It is not enough to do what you think is best and then hope that your Co-parent will agree or not hinder your ability to discipline your child. Rather, you all need to actually communicate about discipline issues and then work together on presenting a united front against your children and any misbehavior. Critical is consistency and discipline across the board when it comes to problems in one house.
For instance, if your Co-parent has disciplined your child for misbehavior in their house, then it is beneficial for you to continue the discipline into your house. Otherwise, do you run into a situation where your child will select one parent's house over the other based on the lack of discipline or structure in the home? Not only is it not beneficial for your relationship with your child, but it is not beneficial for your child. The divorce. It offers you and your Co-parent a great opportunity to coordinate your efforts when it comes to disciplining your child. Having clear expectations for your child regarding disciplinary issues is among the most important ways for you and your Co-parent to worked together to benefit your child both in the short and long term future.
How does child support factor into decisions in a child custody or divorce trial?
The last subject that I want to discuss with you today is child support in conjunction with a child custody or divorce case. Throughout the case, you and your Co-parent will need to provide information to the court regarding your Child's basic monthly needs. As a result, one of the best steps that you can go through at the beginning of a divorce or child custody case is to look closely at your child and their habits to determine what is in their best interest. For instance, if your comment has a medical need, they likely have predictable medical costs that can be planned for overtime. These predictable costs should be built into The Child Support that is paid from one parent to another.
Child support is based on your net monthly income. A percentage of your net monthly income will be paid in child support based on the number of children you have a period; for instance, if you have one child before the court, then 20% of your net monthly income will be paid in child support once a month. This figure can be altered based on the needs of your child. We have already talked about how a medical need or proving need can be used to increase child support. You and your attorney should discuss this factor before negotiating child support.
Additionally, child support can be increased if material and substantial changes occur in your life, that of your child, or in your Co parent's life. The amount of child support you pay may need to be increased, decreased, or otherwise addressed if something significant changes could not have been anticipated in your first family law case. For instance, your income may change, and as a result of the income change, you may need to pay more or less in child support. Or, your child may develop a medical need that requires you to pay more in child support than what the guideline levels state in your divorce decree or child custody orders.
Whatever your specific circumstances, you need to be prepared to adjust child support if you are not named your child's primary caretaker. If you end up sharing custody time with your Co-parent on a nearly even basis, then you may even be able to negotiate your way out of paying much if any child support at all. Remember that child support is merely intended to help the primary conservator take care of your child, given that they will be with your child more frequently than you will. However, those designations don't mean as much if you share time on a fairly even basis. Consider this point when you are negotiating through all the issues related to child custody in your family law case.
Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained 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 consultations 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 how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.