Texas Fathers and Child Custody Cases – Time for Modifications or a Change?

The New Year is always a good time for personal changes and after another stressful Holiday Season with your kids and Ex, you have decided to make some serious changes in your child custody situation to stabilize the entire family. Mom is not helping and the children are seriously acting out.  What to do? What to do?

Maybe it is time to look at changing your child custody status with the children or at least modifying the current orders. Many changes have occurred in American Family Behavior and fathers are taking a more active role in their children’s lives.  The Pew Research Center has recently published some new research on today’s fathers with some important and surprising changes:

  • Fewer dads are the family’s sole breadwinner: dual income households are now the dominant arrangement (60%). Both mom and father must now be responsible for child raising and home chores.

  • Dad and mom roles are converging: fathers have taken on more housework and child care duties and moms have increased time spent at a paid job. There is definitely a more equal distribution of labor between mother and fathers in today’s world.

  • Fathers feel they spend more or as much time with their children as their fathers did when they were children

With the latest scientific research showing that a father’s involvement is essential to a child’s social, moral, and physical growth during the adolescent period, many state legislatures and family courts are now recognizing a father’s ability to care for his children as equal to the mother.  Courts are also looking at the more stable parent, who may have a better income and parenting plan in place for the child and is capable of providing a better home life and more quality time with the child.

Another reason for changing opinions regarding fathers’ rights child custody issues has been the high divorce rates and the affect it has had on the USA population life experiences.  Many adults have been raised in a divorced home with Mom as the main custodial parent. Now these adults are divorcing they want a different and better experience for their own children and their lives.

Things you want to consider as you prepare for your child custody battle are:

  1. Who has the financial ability to best care for the child (ren)? Be sure to have income tax verification, W-2 Forms and other financial information available.

  2. Establish a detailed viable parenting plan (child care, after school care, transportation, pediatrician, etc.).

  3. Who is more stable and/or can provide the best home for the child (ren)?

  4. Where has the child (ren) been attending school? Is it possible to keep the child (ren) in the same school district?

  5. Prepare a chronology of events leading up to the divorce including treatment of the child(ren), time spent with the child(ren), activities with the child(ren), the child(ren)’s schedule.

  6. Consider if a home study should be prepared regarding each home of the child (ren).

  7. Consider whether a psychological evaluation should be done on the mother?

  8. Is drug testing necessary? (Be sure to request hair follicle drug testing.)

  9. Is there an alcohol or other addiction problem in the home?

  10. Who can provide the best moral upbringing for the children?

  11. Is there evidence such as pictures, social networking sites, video tapes, texting, etc. that may help your case?

  12. Avoid unnecessary compromising photos, data on social networking sites, or texting!

Just Remember the five biggest mistakes men make in a custody suits are: 1) failing to respond to the legal action itself; 2) obtaining incorrect child custody legal advice (from friends and family rather than a legal expert); 3) signing a quick child custody settlement agreement while passions are high that is later deeply regretted; 4) failing to perform under the actual settlement agreement as signed; and 5) getting frustrated and/or acquiescing to unreasonable demands and orders.

Think smart when contemplating Child Custody Modifications, be prepared and get an experienced legal professional to help you accomplish your goals!

Love and Marriage ….and Divorce!

With the U.S. marriage rate at an all-time low, 51% of adults were married in 2011 (US Census Bureau), only 29% of all divorced adults say they would marry again with women definitely in the negative on remarriage.  Americans are also not in a hurry to marry.  The median age of first marriages is a record high of 29 for men and 27 for women (US Census Bureau).

So what about the 48% of adults currently married?  A new divorce report by the Slater and Gordon Law Firm in England who surveyed 1000 divorcees has reflected some very interesting findings:

  • The average person spends about 2 years thinking about getting a divorce before they file.

  • During this time the average person spent 18 months really trying to fix their marriage and working to try to save the marriage.

  • 53% discussed divorce with someone besides their partner before filing.

  • 36% spoke to an attorney before deciding to file a divorce

  • 76% tried to fix their marriage problems before deciding on a divorce

  • 53% said their split was amicable and 45% said they are still friends

  • 31% have no contact with their previous spouse at all!

     How would you fit into this survey?

The Nacol Law Firm PC has expressed 8 of the top causes of Divorce!

  1. Lack of communication: A successful relationship constantly keeps in touch! When there is a loss of open ended communication on all issues affecting the marriage, families may fall apart quickly. Share your feelings, tell your partner what is happening, and listen to your partner.

  2. Money and Finances: If there are constant money problems or major disagreements on financial issues, you may have a serious martial problem. A team effort at all times bodes for a better marriage.

  3. Alcohol and Drug Addiction:  Addiction is one of the most damaging and challenging problems spouses will ever face in a marriage. Because additive behavior touches everyone in a family most marriages are severely damaged years before a decision is reached to end the marriage.

  4. Domestic Violence/ Intimate Partner Violence: Family Violence is the willful intimidation, physical and/or sexual assault & battery or serious mental and verbal abuse perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. The frequency and severity of domestic violence varies dramatically and may include physical or sexual violence, threats, and emotional abuse. The violence is often accompanied by irrational and controlling behavior and is intended to result in total dominance and control over the other spouse /intimate partner or other family members.

  5. Trust and Infidelity Issues: Do you truly trust your spouse? Are their jealousy issues that occur with one spouse when other people are involved in your lives? A successful marriage is very difficult absent trust.  If you do not trust your spouse the marriage is vulnerable!

  6. Spouse cannot understand or fulfill your needs and desires: this includes personal and sexual needs and common courtesies to each other. We all have different needs and desires. If you or your partner won’t acknowledge each other’s needs and try to accommodate, the marriage is vulnerable!

  7. Inability to resolve conflict: Often couples have very serious trust issues with each other and cannot get past the needs of one vs the needs of the family.  Smart couples will seek out a 3rd party “referee” to help resolve these differences before the marriage is irretrievable.

  8. Children: Enough said! The married couple must decide on a united front in child rearing and discipline.  The child cannot be in charge or subject to multiple contradictory directives!

Deciding to divorce is a very sad and financially devastating family decision. If you and your spouse are still at the point to possibly change things for the better, explore all other opportunities! There was a reason for the initial attraction and your family will love you for it.  Otherwise, consult a qualified legal professional who can help guide you through this trying period.

 

The Holidays and Visitation with your Children : Problem Times

The Holiday Season is usually an exciting time for both parents and children alike, but for families split by divorce or separation, the emotion issues from the result of the break-up on the affected family can cause the joy of the season to be overshadowed by much unhappiness and despair!

Unfortunately, most parents wait too long to confirm visitation planning for the upcoming holiday season and a very sad and unhappy family situation occurs.  Now is the time to contact Legal Counsel if you cannot work out or are otherwise being deprived of a holiday visitation by your Ex.

Children need to have structure in scheduling the Holiday Visitations to ensure that they will be able to see both parents and share the joy of the season with their entire family.  When this goes awry, the children are usually the ones who suffer.

The best gift of the holiday a child can experience is an early proactive arrangement of all holiday plans so everyone knows dates and times for visitation with both Mom and Dad.   This Holiday Season vow to keep your child out of the middle of any family conflict and start to develop new holiday traditions with your child and family.  Many parents have new relationships/marriages and other children in the family group. The new holiday traditions should include everyone and be a bonding experience for years to come.

Tips on Dealing with Holiday Visitation Issues

  • Make sure your children have positive holiday memories. Shield them from conflicts between warring ex-spouses.

  • Plan ahead now on scheduling the upcoming holiday visitations. Longer the wait, more stress involved!

  • If there is a deviation in holiday schedule this year, make sure it is in writing.  Make sure the document shows what times are being exchanged and both parents sign it for future confirmation.

  • Stay flexible and compromise: If you have to work, consider having the kids spend more time with the other parent so they have time with friends.  This is a time for new family traditions and changes from old habits.  Put aside your differences with your EX and make the children’s time happy with good memories.

  • If age appropriate, ask your children what is important to them during the holidays.  There may be a special place or event that is very important to them and try to accommodate this.

  • Sit back and enjoy the Holidays with your children.  This is a special time for wonderful bonding and beautiful memories. Do not undermine their holiday by hateful confrontations and fighting.

  • If a potential problem could arise on holiday visitation schedules, make sure you take action legally in plenty of time to consult a legal expert and get the conflict resolved before the holidays commence!