Going through a divorce, particularly when children are involved, can be a tumultuous experience for non-custodial parents. If you’re a non-custodial father unexpectedly served with divorce papers, you’re likely feeling a mix of emotions, including being overwhelmed and uncertain about your future relationship with your children. In this series, the Beveridge Law Firm will provide guidance for non-custodial parents facing the complex issues of child custody and property division in Texas divorces.
There’s a common misconception that courts inherently favor custodial parents, often mothers, in custody disputes. While this isn’t always the case, non-custodial fathers may feel that way if they’re not adequately prepared for the divorce process. If you’ve played an active role in your child’s life and wish to secure more parenting time and involvement, you have the right to pursue that goal.
In addition to child custody matters, non-custodial parents should be prepared to address various legal aspects, including allegations of violence or spousal maintenance, which can arise during divorce proceedings. These are real-life issues that many non-custodial parents encounter.
To increase your chances of maintaining a strong relationship with your children as a non-custodial parent, it’s essential to educate yourself about the legal aspects of your case and work closely with your attorney. Your attorney can be your advocate in ensuring your rights and interests as a non-custodial parent are protected.
During the divorce process, it’s crucial not to become disengaged or discouraged, as it could impact your ability to maintain a meaningful relationship with your children. Emotions can run high, but staying committed to your role as a parent is vital.
A helpful perspective for non-custodial parents is to approach child custody as a practical arrangement, much like a business transaction. You are essentially dividing your life’s assets, including your time with your children. “Custody” refers to the time each parent spends with the child. Typically, one parent is designated as the primary conservator, determining the child’s primary residence and receiving child support, while the other parent becomes a possessory conservator with visitation rights and child support obligations.
In Texas, joint managing conservatorship is commonly pursued, encouraging shared custody and parenting responsibilities. “Sole custody” is less common and typically only granted in cases involving severe issues, such as drug use or violence.
Non-custodial parents still have important rights and duties associated with their children, including decisions about medical treatment, education, religion, and finances. Co-parenting with the custodial parent is crucial to ensure your child’s best interests are met.
Despite the challenges, Texas courts generally recognize the value of both parents’ involvement in their child’s life, even for non-custodial parents. While co-parenting can be challenging, it’s essential for your child’s well-being.
If you are not named the primary joint conservator, you still have substantial visitation rights, often outlined by a Standard Possession Order. Working with your attorney to create a visitation plan that aligns with your unique work schedule and circumstances is essential for non-custodial parents.
Building a strong case for more parenting time and involvement as a non-custodial parent involves demonstrating your consistent involvement in your child’s life, a strong bond with your child, and a positive relationship with the custodial parent. While co-parenting may be challenging, it’s crucial for the success of your efforts to play a more significant role in your child’s life.
Consider your child’s age when pursuing increased parenting time and involvement as a non-custodial parent. Older and younger children may adapt more easily, while those in the in-between age period may require additional consideration regarding transportation and time spent with both parents.
Brazoria County Galveston County 461st District Court 300th District Court