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Can you help your child transition during your divorce?

You and your spouse are wrapped in the ever-complicated process of getting a divorce in Texas. While you are consumed with making important decisions about finances, living arrangements and alimony support, you are also faced with the difficult decision of telling your children that you and your spouse are separating. Once the news is broken, you have to be prepared for your children to respond. Sometimes, their reaction may be surprising and require you to be extra vigilant and aware of their needs to help them adjust in a way that is positive, productive and effective. 

When you start to tell your child about your decision, it is ideal if both you and your spouse are there to explain what is happening. However, if that scenario is not doable, it is critical that you remain objective when explaining why things are happening the way they are. Never incriminate or gossip about your spouse even if you have strong opinions about his or her behavior. This kind of negative talk can damage the relationship your child has with your spouse and ultimately complicate things even more. 

How does the mediation process work?

You and your spouse are preparing to file for divorce. You have some disputes, but neither of you feel very enthusiastic about going to court. In fact, you are both amenable to the idea of resolving your disagreements through mediation, but you aren’t sure if this is the right choice, especially if you want to protect your children from much of the heartbreak. This is a valid concern for you and other Texas couples going through a divorce.

Mediation is one of the popular types of uncontested, or amicable, divorce, as FindLaw explains. Some of the benefits of mediation that you are likely to find worthwhile include the following:

  • Typically costs less and takes less time to complete than litigation
  • Shields you and your children from much of the conflict of a divorce
  • Details are private, rather than public like in a court divorce
  • Gives you and your spouse dignity while you negotiate solutions to your disputes
  • Teaches you techniques in cooperation and communication

How does divorce affect dads?

A great deal of attention is focused on how divorce affects women, especially financially and emotionally. While it is true that divorce can have a devastating impact on women, especially single mothers, the truth is that divorce is usually hard on everyone in Texas and elsewhere – women, men and children. As a single father who cares about his children, you are certainly not left out of the stress and heartbreak of divorce.

VeryWell Family outlines some of the greatest challenges you can face as a single dad after your divorce. They may include the following:

  • Family law courts often favor mothers, and you may not be satisfied with the custody arrangement you received. You may miss your children and worry about the effect it has on them to not see their dad as often as they used to.
  • If you are not the custodial parent, you will be required to pay child support, which can place a financial strain on you.
  • During visitations, you want to make the best of your time with your kids. You might want to have as much fun as possible with them, yet not be labeled a “Disneyland dad.”
  • Like many divorced parents, you could have differences in opinion about parenting strategies and the right to make important decisions on behalf of your kids. You ex might also consciously make things more difficult for you.
  • If you begin dating, you might worry about how a new relationship would affect your kids and your relationship with them.

When mothers stop paying child support

When Texas fathers receive child support, they typically expect to receive these payments on a regular basis. Sometimes, though, their ex-wives may be behind on these payments. In this situation, it is important for men to know what they can do.

When a father realizes his ex-wife is not making child support payments, he may want to speak to her. According to U.S. News, sometimes the children's mother may not have enough money to make these payments each month. In this situation, a father might ask his ex-wife to pay what she can. It is also a good idea to consider modifying the amount of child support the children's mother pays each month so the father continues to receive this money. Some fathers may want to make sure they do not include child support payments in their budget if their ex-spouse is not making these payments on a regular basis.

TX trooper charged with perjury for allegedly withholding assets

Everyone involved in a divorce, whether civilians, law enforcement or those enlisted in the armed forces, is required to honestly and fully disclose their assets and property accrued during the marriage. Texas residents who knowingly conceal assets can face serious consequences, including criminal charges.

A recent case involving a couple in Nacogdoches County shows what can happen if a spouse catches the other one hiding assets during a divorce. According to KTRE News, a state trooper with the Department of Public Safety admitted to the court that he had kept the speakers from a truck that the judge awarded to his ex-wife, saying that he was left with no money after the divorce and needed to sell them. However, he admitted to holding onto the speakers, rather than selling them. The woman’s attorney also said that the trooper claimed under oath to have earned a significantly lower income than the court was able to prove he was making.

How do I avoid panicking if CPS investigates?

Your first thought when you find out someone has questioned your parenting abilities is likely to be anger. Your second reaction may be fear. What if Child Protective Services takes your children away? Does a social worker have the power to remove your children from the home based on hearsay from another person? This is a valid concern that you may share with many other Texas parents.

As FindLaw explains, CPS’s purpose is to protect children from abuse and neglect. An accusation against you does not automatically make you guilty. It is the responsibility of a CPS social worker to investigate all claims, whether they have merit or not. Even so, it is understandable that you would be worried if CPS knocks on your door. The following steps explain what to do if this happens:

  • Stay calm and civil. You may inform the social worker that you are going to talk to your attorney before allowing a visit. A follow-up visit will most likely be scheduled.
  • You may ask to see a warrant before allowing the social worker inside. You have the right to refuse entry without a warrant, even if the social worker tells you otherwise.
  • If CPS returns with law enforcement, you may have to let them in.
  • Be polite and direct when answering questions. The social worker’s job is to help, but he or she is not your friend.
  • Get the contact information of the social worker and law enforcement officers who come to your door.

Co-parenting strategies

In the midst of a divorce, Texas residents have a seemingly endless list of things to address. Decisions must be made about everything from what to do with a house to who gets the dishes and more. Eventually some matters are resolved but one item that continues on is how to co-parent with a former spouse. This is no easy task but there are things each person can do to help make parenting after divorce positive for the children.

Parents magazine recommends that despite the natural tendency to mourn the loss of time with one's children, parents focus on making the time they have matter. This does not mean they should rush to be the "Disneyland" parent who fills every moment with superficial fun but that time should be meaningful and spent together to truly foster the parent-child bond.

Same-sex parents and child support

Divorce can be more complicated for same-sex couples in Texas if they have children. People usually need to consider factors such as child support and child custody.

Some people may think that they will only need to pay child support if they adopted their child. says that adoption usually is not a factor in child support. Instead, a court usually considers how involved each parent was. If a parent planned on starting a family, then he or she can typically be required to pay child support. A court may also consider whether both parents introduced children to others as a family member and whether both went to doctor's appointments for the child.

What can happen to a child after parental rights are terminated?

The road can be rough for children in Texas who are living in an unstable family situation. In some cases, the courts may decide to terminate parental rights for the children’s protection and well-being. If this occurs, other complications may arise, and it is important that a child you love be given the support and security he or she needs in such a situation.

Family law courts tend to prefer that guardianship is given to a close relative if the parents lose custody, explains FindLaw. You may be a grandparent, aunt, uncle or cousin with an interest in caring for the children when their parents are no longer able or allowed. First, it can help to understand the various reasons a parent may have his or her rights terminated. This often occurs if the parents are using drugs or have been found guilty of child abuse, after other avenues to assist the family have failed. A parent may have been in an accident and incapacitated, or deemed mentally unfit to raise the children. Some parents voluntarily sign over their parental rights.

Could your spouse withhold income to affect your child support?

As you know, the child support your ex-spouse pays is based on his or her income. It can be frustrating, as well as problematic, if your ex is dishonest about income to avoid paying what you are entitled to receive in child support. Being a single parent in Texas is difficult, and the child support you receive can significantly make a difference in your children’s well-being.

Even so, many non-custodial parents attempt to avoid or reduce their responsibilities by falsifying information to make it seem as if their income is lower than it is, thereby reducing their child support obligations. According to Aol, there are numerous ways your ex-spouse could deceive the family law court about his or her income, including the following:

  • Involving the employer in reporting a lower income or stating fewer hours or a pay cut
  • Delaying receiving a bonus until the divorce is final
  • Having more of his or her paycheck withheld in taxes
  • Paying more into retirement so the net pay is less
  • Writing lower paychecks or falsely reporting dismal figures if self-employed
  • Quitting a job or temporarily getting a lower-paying job until the child support order is made, then getting a better-paying job
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