Divorce is often difficult – but divorcing with children often complicates matters further. In a divorce without children, the primary issues to discuss are the division of property and spousal support/maintenance. However, with children, the complex issues of child custody and child support are added to these issues.
If you have children and are considering beginning the divorce process or have already filed for divorce, it is important to take your case to a lawyer who will take your children’s best interests into account. The Arlington divorce attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm represent parents in their divorce proceedings, child custody hearings, and child support disputes. For a confidential consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (817) 476-1797.
Divorcing with Children in Arlington,TX
As part of your divorce proceedings, you and your spouse will often become separated along the way. As soon as you start living in separate homes, there may be decisions to make regarding your children. Whenever the parents live in separate households, it is important to have some plan or legal decision regarding where the children live, whether both parents have access to the children, and how much time the children spend with each parent.
These kinds of issues may be decided temporarily during divorce proceedings, and you may not have a finalized decision until the divorce is completed. Some divorces may take a long time, and you may need official orders to protect your children and your parental rights, especially if the divorce is based on your spouse being abusive or undermining your parenting.
A “Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship” (SAPCR) may be available to set the rules while the divorce is pending. This kind of legal action can end with established orders for child custody, parenting time, and the duties each parent shares, including child support. It will not touch any other financial issues, which would need to be decided during divorce.
Child Custody During Divorce
During divorce proceedings, it will be important to decide child custody issues. In Texas, you can make agreements with your spouse that decide child custody the way that you want, or rely on the judge’s decisions. In many cases, you will share custody with your spouse after the divorce, unless there is some reason that your children should be kept from their other parent. In cases involving abuse, violence, drug use, or severe alcoholism, the court may agree that the best interests of the child are best served by limiting one parent’s custody rights.
There are two types of child custody, and it is important to understand the difference. First, there is legal custody. This is the legal right to make decisions for your children. Any parent with legal custody has the right to make decisions regarding big life issues, such as:
- What religion the child will practice,
- Healthcare and medical decisions,
- What school or type of school (public, private, parochial) the child will attend, and more.
Even issues such as what sport your child will play may fall under legal custody’s powers.
Physical custody is the right to have your child living with you in your household. You may have physical custody for only part of the year, and may have to share time with your ex-spouse. When your children live under your roof, you get the power to make smaller, daily decisions, and the other parent may have no say in those decisions. For instance, decisions about whether your child does homework before or after dinner, or what you serve for dinner may be entirely up to the parent with physical custody at the time.
When legal custody is shared, both parents retain the full rights. This may require mediation and working together, even if you are divorced. In contrast, physical custody only goes to one parent at a time as long as they live in separate households. This may mean different rules for each household.
Child Support During Divorce
After child custody is decided, it is important to put a child support order in place. While the children live with one parent, that parent pays out-of-pocket expenses for the children. If they have the child for most of the calendar year, they pay more out-of-pocket expenses. Child support is used to reimburse the parent with physical custody for those expenses.
Any money paid as child support is for the children’s needs, not the custodial parent’s needs. Instead, spousal maintenance and other financial issues consider the parent’s needs. Tuition, healthcare, groceries, clothes, and other expenses should be covered by child support, which may make the payments quite expensive.
Failing to pay child support can have serious consequences under Texas law. Because of this, it is vital to have an attorney assist you in your child support case to ensure the payments are reasonable and affordable.
Call Our Arlington, TX Attorneys for Divorcing with Children
If you are going through a divorce with children in the Arlington, Texas area, talk to one of the attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. Our lawyers have decades of experience handling family law issues, and may be able to help with your case. For a confidential consultation, contact our law offices today at (817) 476-1797.