When one parent makes more money than the other, the one who makes less often believes they are at a disadvantage when it comes to child custody.
In reality, custody decisions are made with many different factors in mind. Texas courts analyze numerous factors that don’t have anything to do with income. Also, remember that even if there’s a disparity between your income and your ex’s, child support and spousal maintenance may help close the gap and make the financial differences less important.
Examples of Child Custody Factors
Texas law on conservatorship (our state’s legal term for custody) has one big theme: all decisions must be made according to what is in the best interests of the child.
There’s no formal definition for what kind of custody arrangement meets the “best interest of the child” standard, but family court decisions handed down over the years have given us a long list of factors judges may consider when making a conservatorship decision.
As you look at these factors, remember that no single one determines the outcome. Judges weigh these factors (and others) together when deciding what custody arrangement would be in the child’s best interest:
- Age and health of the child(ren) and parents
- Special needs of a child or parent
- Stability of the home environment
- Benefits and drawbacks of keeping the child in the same home
- Relationships with siblings or other family members and how those relationships would be impacted
- Child preference, if he or she is old enough to express an opinion
- Any history of domestic violence in the home
- Educational needs of the child and each parent’s ability to meet those needs
- Level of involvement of each parent in the child’s life
- Financial condition of each parent
- Other factors the court deems relevant
As you can see, finances are on this list, but it’s just one of many different things to consider. And, finances won’t be given much more or less weight than any other factor. Courts don’t simply award custody to the parent with more money.
Typically, the higher-earning parent will be responsible for a larger share of expenses related to the child. Whenever there’s a large disparity in income, both parents must seek advice from a qualified lawyer who can give an informed perspective on how your financial position could affect custody and related issues like alimony and child support.
Speak With A Child Custody Attorney in Fort Worth
Through our Fort Worth office, our attorneys help parents navigate the complex issues of child custody and visitation. Whether you’re seeking an initial custody determination or need to modify an existing arrangement, our team is here to help.
For a free consultation with a Fort Worth lawyer, please call 817-755-1852 or send us a message and we’ll respond promptly.