Divorce cannot only be costly but can also have untold effects on children if they are caught up in the legal battle between mom and dad, asserted founding partner of Weinman & Associates, P.C in Austin, TX. —
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In a recent interview, Weinman pinpointed myths that parents may be working on, but under the misapprehension they are helping their divorce battle and their children’s futures.
She revealed that not all custody battles have to step inside a court of law to be resolved. “Attorneys are humans too, and they, as much as the parents, should be trying to settle custody of children out of court.”
Couples should try to reach common ground on custody issues and seek agreements for the benefit of the children as they grow rather than allow a judge to settle matters.
“Children will get through a divorce between parents if they know their parents are handling matters in an adult and calm manner. If a relationship is amicable, couples should take the time to sit down and work out the issues together.”
She said an attorney can provide some pointers on how to draft an agreement that reflects issues such as vacation time with children and visiting times.
Another misconception that parents often labour under in a divorce is that the mother will always retain the custody of the children.
“This may well have been the norm 50 years ago, but today’s society has changed completely. Courts look at each fresh divorce case entirely on its individual merits and the facts before them. At all times, a court will be working for the best interests of the children.”
She added: “Family dynamics have drastically changed, so the court will factor in many things, including the parent who has the most availability to look after the children, and also how each parent can support and encourage the relationship between the children and the other parent. Equal time is not necessary to create strong relationships. There are many factors to consider.”
Parents who believe they can relocate with their children to another state or country will soon find this isn’t easy, especially if there is already a custody order in effect. A modification of the original agreement needs to be sought via the court that ruled on it, and if not agreed by the other parent, then a specific court order is required.
Weinman commented that in a shared custody arrangement, a parent will not necessarily receive financial support from the other parent if their earnings are relatively equal. However, even in a shared custody arrangement, if one parent earns substantially more than the other, the higher earning parent is likely to be paying support to the other parent. The myth of “50/50 custody means no child support” is just that -- a myth.
Another misbelief is that a child gets to choose where they can live, she said. “A child may be able to voice their reasoning through a number of legal channels, and the court will no doubt hear those opinions, but ultimately a court will decide on this matter.”
She added that when a child reaches 18 years of age, they are considered an adult, and a court cannot grant legal custody to one parent over another.
“Ultimately, when it comes to issues surrounding children, divorcing parents are highly advised to seek legal help first to understand the journey ahead, with the overriding factor of ensuring the best interests of their children at all times,” Weinman concluded.
Name: Daryl Weinman
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Organization: Weinman & Associates, P.C.
Address: 8200 N Mopac Expy #230, Austin, TX 78759
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