Divorce is challenging enough when only dealing with your spouse and financial affairs, but throw kids into the equation and even the most amicable divisions can get touchy and more difficult. Concerns range from whether a husband can get full or even half custody to how a stay-at-home mom financially supports her kids. Even mid-divorce questions and protocol get muddier, such as whether you can take the kids on a vacation without your soon-to-be ex.
Here are some of the most common questions we get concerning children and divorce, and details to consider when dealing with them:
Can my husband take away my kids?
Courts do look out for the well-being of the children. Judges do not look favorably on mothers who physically, emotionally or verbally abuse a child or the father in front of the child. Even if you are going through a nasty divorce and your husband cheated on you with your best friend, refrain from practicing parental alienation, where you try to turn your children against your spouse. That, and withholding love from a child to punish them for wanting to spend time with your spouse, will negatively impact your custody argument. And do not move in with or even bring a new boyfriend to the house until your divorce is final.
Courts don’t automatically assume a mother is the primary or best caregiver anymore, but in most households the female still provides more of the childcare and ends up with primary custody in a divorce.
Will I only get my children 50% of the time?
Most courts, in trying to determine who is primary caregiver, will consider who spends most time taking care of the children, from making doctor appointments to driving soccer carpool to making lunches to playing with and putting to bed. Keep records of who performs which childcare duties to help support your argument for primary caregiving. Stay involved with and know your kids’ lives.
Judges will look at a child’s physical and emotional needs, the parent’s ability to properly parent, and the relationship a child has with each parent. With older children, usually 12 and over, courts also consider their particular parental preference.
What if I am a stay-at-home mom?
Mothers who have left the workforce to care for children full-time often worry not only about retaining primary custody of the children but also their financial position. Will they be able to maintain the same lifestyle for them and their children? Will they have to leave the family home?
In Texas, a stay-at-home mom cannot be kicked out of the marital home without a hearing, even if her name is not on the property title.
Stay-at-home moms are often eligible for child support. The state family code looks at the spouses’ monthly resources and sets support at a specified percentage based on the number of children.
If a stay-at-home mom has been married for 10 years or more and cannot meet their financial minimum needs (despite trying to go back to work), they might be eligible for spousal maintenance.
Texas is a community property state where the assets acquired during a marriage are jointly owned by both spouses, regardless of whose name is on the title or account. Courts will also look at what is right, and consider multiple factors in property division. Sometimes, courts will award a stay-at-home mom more than 50% based on what is deemed just and right.
Can I take my kids on a vacation during the divorce process?
First consider whether your divorce filing carries any court orders with it. If so, check these orders for travel restrictions and follow them.
If no court order, the best course of action is to use common sense and courtesy. Avoid planning a trip on dates when your spouse has visitation rights. Communicate any travel plans with your spouse, either directly or through your attorneys depending on your situation, so as to avoid any misunderstandings and create a negative situation.
Keep vacation spending and behavior moderate. Exorbitant spending or outrageous behavior could be viewed negatively. You don’t want to be penalized for it later.
Our Divorce Attorneys Can Help Alleviate Your Fears
In all the above situations, it’s best to consult a divorce attorney. Divorce is challenging but with Alexandra Geczi PLLC you are not alone. Our attorneys are here to help you discreetly navigate the process and protect your interests, so that you can move forward into a bright, bold future. Contact us today at 214-974-4449 for a free case evaluation.