Child Custody in High-Asset Divorce
Divorce is almost always difficult, but when a couple holds substantial assets, it is even more complicated. Regardless of your financial situation, child custody matters should be made based on the best interests of the children. However, it is common for there to be a lot of hostility in high-net-worth divorces, which can add to the emotion of child custody decisions.
At Youngblood Law, PLLC, we always prioritize the needs of children in divorce. We are uniquely prepared to handle the complexes of high-net-worth divorce and have strong connections with financial experts and other resources that will help keep your divorce moving forward as smoothly as possible.
We will help you to navigate all matters relating to divorce, including child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. Our goal is for you to walk away from your marriage feeling confident about your future. We do this by being adaptive to your needs and advocating on your behalf at every stage.
Arrange a free consultation with an experienced high-asset divorce attorney at 817-369-3970.
Does Income Affect Child Custody in High Asset Divorce?
Most high-asset divorces involve a significant wage disparity. The lower-earning spouse may be concerned that their lack of income will negatively impact them when determining child custody arrangements. However, this is not necessarily the case, Texas law considers many factors when determining child custody, and ultimately, all decisions must be made based on the child’s best interests.
While the court will consider each parent’s ability to care for and provide for their child, if the lower-income spouse does become the primary caregiver, then the other spouse will usually be required to pay child support to help meet the child’s needs. The court will also consider how much time each parent spends working and how much time they have to spend with the child. Therefore, if the higher-earning spouse works long hours, then it often makes more sense for them to take on the role of the non-custodial parent.
However, each case is unique, and you should speak to a family law attorney who can advise you based on your specific circumstances.
Different Types of Child Custody Arrangements in Texas
It is considered to be in the children’s best interest for their parents to arrive at some type of joint custody arrangement. This is because children benefit from having a strong relationship with both their parents unless one parent poses a risk to their wellbeing.
In Texas, parents are awarded two types of custody; they are physical custody and legal custody.
Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions on a child’s behalf, such as those that relate to religion, education, and medical care. Parents could share legal custody, which means that they would be expected to make joint decisions in regard to their child. Or, one parent could retain sole legal custody.
Physical custody refers to the time each parent spends with their child. Although an equal split might sound like the fairest option, in reality, this can be difficult. For example, if one parent works long hours, then it might make more sense for the other to have primary custody.
A common arrangement is for one parent to have primary custody and for the other to be granted visitation rights. This arrangement helps foster stability for the child while keeping them engaged with both parents. A common schedule is every other weekend and one weekday evening each week with the non-custodial parent. However, there are variations to this, and your attorney can help you establish a parenting schedule that works for you.
When is Sole Custody Awarded?
Sole custody is only awarded in cases where one parent poses a risk to their child’s wellbeing. Examples could include a history of domestic abuse or substance misuse. However, even in these situations, they could be awarded supervised visitation.
If you believe that you should have sole custody, then you should contact an experienced child custody attorney as soon as possible. If you are immediately concerned about your child’s safety, then your attorney can help you file for a protection order, which will keep your ex-spouse away from you and your child. They will then work with you to evidence your claims to a Judge so that a decision is made that protects your child’s best interests.
Forming a Parenting Plan With Youngblood Law, PLLC
At Youngblood Law PLLC, a child custody case will usually begin with negotiation and mediation. We use non-adversarial resolution strategies wherever possible so that you and your ex-spouse can come together and agree on a parenting plan that prioritizes your children.
Your lawyer will find out what you want and will then help you determine whether the other party is willing to negotiate. Determining an arrangement outside of court helps to protect your children from lengthy court battles and is also often cheaper and quicker.
However, if a custody trial is necessary in your case, then we will be prepared to advocate on your behalf in front of a Judge.
Child’s Best Interests in Texas
All family law matters that involve children must be made based on the child’s best interests. However, it is common for parents to disagree about what that means when it comes to deciding on child custody.
Your family law attorney can help you reach an agreement that prioritizes your children without high emotions clouding your judgment. Some factors that can help you determine what is in your child’s best interests include:
How involved each parent has been in their child’s life is a big consideration in child custody decisions. If one parent has attended school events, arranged medical care, and taken on most of the parental responsibilities up until now, then it may be best for them to continue in this role. This helps keep stability in the child’s life and stops it from changing too much.
Decisions must be made free from gender bias, which means that it will not automatically be assumed that the mother has taken on this role. If your custody case does go to court, the Judge will need to see evidence of involvement from both parents before they make their decision.
If you have worked long hours throughout your marriage and have therefore been unable to take a large role in your child’s life, then this may be a consideration. However, being a working parent isn’t frowned upon, and you should still be granted parenting time.
Access to Community
If the child has strong relationships with a close-knit family circle, neighbors, or friends, then it is important for this to continue.
A child custody arrangement that supports a child’s access to their community is usually in their best interests. However, this can be complex if one parent plans to move away. If this happens, then an arrangement whereby the child remains in their home and visits the other parent during school holidays could be the best option.
The Child’s Emotional and Physical Needs
Another important consideration is the ability of each parent to meet their child’s emotional and physical needs both now and in the future, for example:
- Is each parent able to provide a loving and nurturing home?
- How much time does each parent have to spend with their child?
- Is each parent willing to put the needs of their children first?
- Are both parents in good health, both mentally and physically?
- How stable is each parent?
- Is each parent able to adapt to their child’s changing needs?
- Can each parent maintain a job to meet their child’s financial needs?
Willingness to Cooperate
The court operates on the presumption that it is in children’s best interests to keep both parents involved in their life. Therefore, the court wants to see that parents are willing to cooperate and put their children’s needs first.
When determining custody, they may consider whether a potential custodial parent is willing to facilitate visitation for the other. If there are any efforts of alienation, which is where one parent tries to negatively impact a child’s opinions of the other, then the Judge may consider this when making their decisions. The court will not look favorably on a parent who tries to alienate the other, so you should always try not to talk badly about the other parent in front of your children.
The Child’s Preference
If the child is aged 12 or over, the Judge will consider their preferences. Although a child’s preference can impact a Judge’s decisions, ultimately, the decision will be based on their best interests.
Child Support Payments in High Asset Divorces
Parenting is the responsibility of both parents, and providing financial support for your children is a substantial part of this responsibility. Child support laws are in place to protect parents and ensure that one parent is not under unfair financial strain. Therefore, the non-custodial parent is usually ordered to pay child support to the other to make up for the extra time they spend caring for their child and meeting their financial needs.
The Texas child support formula, outlined in the Texas Family Code, for calculating child support uses an ‘income percentage model’. Depending on the number of children a couple has, the child support amount starts at 20% of a parent’s monthly income for one child. This increases by an additional 5% for every child, up to a minimum of 40% for six children or above. There is also a cap; once a parent’s income exceeds $7,500 per month, the child support payments won’t necessarily be higher.
However, in a high-asset divorce, it is common for children to have additional needs, which could justify a deviation from standard child support guidelines. For example, if your child attends private school, then the custodial parent may require a higher amount of child support to continue to pay for their education.
It is important to note that a court-issued child support order is legally binding. Therefore, the paying parent, known as the obligor, must make payments. Child support payments never disappear and must be paid eventually. A Judge could garnish the obligor’s wages or even issue a jail sentence if they fail to make payments.
Therefore, it is essential that a decision is reached that supports the child’s best interests without placing undue financial strain on either parent.
Dividing Marital Assets in a High Net-Worth Divorce
Often one of the most complex matters in a high-asset divorce is the asset division process. Texas is a community property state in which property is divided into separate and marital.
- Separate Property – Anything either spouse owned before marriage or acquired through inheritance, gifts, or compensation is separate property. Separate assets continue to belong to each individual after the marriage has ended.
- Marital Property – Anything either spouse acquired while they were married, including pensions, stocks and bonds, businesses, real estate, and more. Martial property is subject to equitable division upon divorce.
Equitable division does not always mean a 50/50 split. For example, if you have primary care of your children, then perhaps it is justifiable for you to keep the marital home.
At Youngblood Law, PLLC, our family law attorneys will help you divide property in a just and fair way. We will help you fight for what’s important to you and will ensure that you get your fair share of your marital property. Dividing property in a high-asset divorce is complex, and we may need to draw upon expert testimony to ensure that your rights are protected.
Call a Texas Child Custody Attorney Today
Child custody matters are often the most emotional and highly debated issues during the divorce process. High-asset divorce cases are very complex, and when combined with emotional issues such as child custody, things can often feel overwhelming.
That is why you need the support of a dedicated attorney who has extensive experience in high-asset divorce. That is what you will find at Youngblood Law, PLLC.
Our highly experienced attorneys are committed to supporting our clients. We believe that the best way to do that is to minimize conflict where possible.
We offer a free consultation, so do not hesitate to contact us today and find out what we can do for you. Call today at 817-369-3970.