Protect Your Kids in a Divorce

Divorce is a hard time for anyone. Frequently, a spouse will feel an overwhelming need for protection out of a fear of the changing situation and unknown future.

For example, frequently women are so busy taking care of the children and the household that they leave managing the money to their husband. As a result, sometimes they suffer from a lack of information about finances which results in fear of how they will take care of themselves when the divorce is finished.

Sometimes men worry about how they will continue to have a relationship with their kids after the breakup of the marriage. They don’t want to be seen as a weekend dad and want to remain involved in the children’s day-to-day activities as well as the leisure activities on the weekends.

Education about the law can help ease the fears that either spouse may have about protecting their assets or their relationship with the children.

In Texas, community property includes all of the assets (and debts) gathered by either party during the marriage. The first step in any property division is to identify what the spouses own and whether it was obtained during the marriage. Records and documents are essential to this evaluation so start gathering these early.

A divorce can take months, at best, if not years to resolve. So, the divorce judge may enter temporary orders to address the monthly financial needs of each spouse and the children and to make sure the important bills get paid. Temporary orders can also address who lives in the house, how the utilities get paid, and what money will be used to pay attorney’s fees.

A divorce judge also will look at who has been involved in the various aspects of parenting before the divorce was filed and try to maintain the status quo for the children as much as possible while the divorce is pending. So, if the mother takes the primary parenting role during the school week, then that may very well continue. If, however, the father shares the responsibility of helping the children during the week, or even handles that primarily, then the divorce court will continue that situation as status quo.

Before embarking on a pathway of litigation over children, remember a couple of bottom line concepts. First, unless there are issues of potential harm coming to a child during time with one of the parents, most likely the children are going to spend some amount of time on a frequent basis with both parents. There is almost never a situation where one parent has 100% of the time and the other parent has 0%. Second, children get older. So, as kids get to be teenagers, they are not going to be as amenable to spending time with their parents and, instead, will want to spend time in their activities and with their friends. The rigid schedule may not be realistic as they get older. Third, always make decisions with the children’s best interest first. In other words, a situation might be good for you as a parent, but not really the best deal for the child. As long as you put the child’s interests first, usually the right decision gets made.