The divorce process is hard for both parents, and figuring out how to handle
your own emotions while also providing support for your kids can be extremely
taxing. On top of the emotional stress, you have to deal with the financial
strain and the endless list of obligations regarding court dates, financial
statements, temporary custody, and other key documents and details. Both
parents should be extremely vigilant about avoiding any potential divorce
mistakes, as it could lead to unfair custody arrangements, property division,
or support arrangements.
In some situations, fathers may be at a disadvantage when it comes to divorce
issues involving their children, especially if the mother acts as the
primary caretaker or stays at home with the kids. Even though Texas courts
are much better about treating each parent equally, mothers are sometimes
favored when it comes to custody arrangements.
In order to improve your chances in court and to help your children through
the divorce process, make sure you do what you can to avoid these key
mistakes many fathers make:
1. Not Focusing On the Kids
Remember to prioritize your kids during this difficult time. As stressed
and overwhelmed as you probably feel, try to remember how difficult this
is for your children as well. Make time for outings with them and make
a point to continue carving out time for them, even when you’re
busy with work and divorce details. Try to make your private time about
fun and relaxation, maybe taking them on outings you all enjoyed before
the divorce. But, also, remember to ask them about how they’re dealing
with everything. They might not want to talk, but just make sure you keep
the lines of communication open.
2. Using Children as Leverage
Even though you may say you would never use your children as leverage,
it might happen without you fully realizing what you’re doing. When
you’re negotiating with your spouse in court or during mediation,
make sure you remember to think of your children’s best interest,
rather than thinking of how you can get the upper hand. For example, if
you know your spouse wants full custody, and use that knowledge to work
in more assets or other concessions for yourself, you’ve just used
your kids as leverage over your spouse. It can be hard to avoid doing
this, especially if your spouse is especially contentious or difficult,
but try to think about your kids’ welfare separately, and make their
happiness and health a priority.
3. Trying To Win
When your spouse is being particularly difficult or contentious, it can
be very hard not to see the divorce as a competition, especially if you
go to court. The courtroom naturally tends to pit spouses against one
another, and it can make tense relationships even more hostile and bitter.
Try your best to think about what is fair and right, especially where
your kids are concerned, rather than trying to “win” against
your soon-to-be ex-wife.
4. Failing To Focus On Finances
It’s a hard line to walk, balancing your priorities between your
family and your finances. However, it is crucial that you make time for
both. Your kids need you, but you also need to make sure you’re
being mindful of your current and futures spending and any additional
expenses that may be headed your way. Fathers pay child support and spousal
support more frequently than mothers do, so it is crucial that you prepare
for this possibility and discuss it with your attorney. Make sure you
can afford it, and set yourself up for any additional expenses coming
your way. Also, the divorce process itself can be costly, so focus on
your current financial situation and make sure you’re in a good
position to take on any legal bills or new living expenses if you leave
the marital home.
Contact the Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny
to discuss your divorce with our Houston divorce lawyers.