June 22, 2018 | Share
What are My Rights as a Father in a Texas Divorce?
As a parent, ensuring that you will be able to spend time with your children is one of the most important aspects of the divorce process. But, as a father, it can seem like the odds are stacked against you. Custody laws have traditionally favored granting primary custody to a child’s mother; and, from child support to spousal maintenance, you may be wondering how you will be able to afford to make lasting memories during the little visitation time you have.
But, times are changing. The laws that used to favor a child’s mother are gone (at least in Texas), and fathers are not the only ones who pay child support and spousal maintenance. Even if your job is your family’s primary source of income, as you work through your divorce, you should be able to structure financial obligations that allow you to largely maintain the lifestyle you enjoyed before bringing your marriage to an end.
Child Custody: What is Best for Your Children?
When thinking about issues related to custody and visitation, it is important to balance your personal wants and preferences with what is best for your children. In many cases these will align; but, if they do not, you may need to be prepared to make some adjustments in order to secure the parenting rights you desire. Do you work full-time? If so, what arrangements can you make to meet your children’s needs while you are at work? If you have been traveling or going out with friends on the weekends, are you willing to make changes so that you can be there for your children?
Importantly, these are not one-sided questions. Your spouse will need to answer them as well. As a father, you have the right to seek a custody arrangement that protects the best interests of your children. If your wife works full-time or has a record of being absent on the weekends (or has a history of drug or alcohol abuse), this could very well mean that your children should spend more time with you than your soon-to-be-former spouse.
Child Support: Applying the Texas Child Support Guidelines
Texas’s child support guidelines establish the minimum amounts that parents must contribute toward meeting their children’s financial needs. The guidelines take a variety of factors into consideration, and they use a formula to determine both (i) which parent will be required to pay support, and (ii) how much support should be awarded. Some of these factors include:
- The parents’ respective income levels (or earning capacities)
- The parents’ custody rights
- Any pre-existing child support obligations from prior relationships
- The children’s financial needs
- Certain special circumstances impacting the children’s needs or the parents’ ability to pay
As you go through the divorce process, it will be important to ensure that you have all of the information required to arrive at an appropriate child support calculation. Even if you are the one who will pay child support, while you may want to spend more on your children, you should not be legally obligated to pay any more than the law requires.
Speak with One of Our McKinney Divorce Lawyers for Free
If you are preparing to go through a divorce and have more questions about fathers’ rights in Texas, we encourage you to contact us for a free and confidential consultation. To schedule an appointment with a divorce lawyer at Nordhaus Walpole, PLLC, please call (214) 726-1450 or request an appointment online today.
Categories: Family Law & Divorce