Divorce is always a challenging time for the entire family, but especially for children. In fact, children’s divorce complications can make a cut-and-dry divorce case much more difficult to hash out, even if both parties are relatively amicable.
This page will break down how children impact divorce proceedings and the kinds of challenges parents must overcome to reach a suitable agreement for child custody, child support, and more.
How Children Impact Divorce
Children can have a significant impact on any divorce proceeding, especially if there is more than one or if divorcing parents have young children. During a divorce settlement, a judge will issue a Final Decree of Divorce, which itself will also include a parenting plan that both parties must adhere to at all times.
The parenting plan will cover several all the major aspects of childcare until any child(ren) becomes an adult.
Firstly, the divorce court will address the conservatorship ratios or rules for custody for formerly married parents. Examples of custody arrangements can include:
- Full custody, in which one parent has complete custody over the child(ren) and there is no visitation from the other parent
- Sole custody, in which a second parent does not attempt to get custody for their child(ren) at all
- Split custody, in which the parents split custody of the child(ren). Custody time can be split into ratios like 50-50, 25-75, or any other ratio the court deems appropriate
- Primary custody, in which one parent is the primary caregiver and custodian for the child(ren). The other parent may receive visitation rights
Conservatorship arrangements deal with where the children live and spend most or all of their time. It also affects which of the two parents receives visitation rights, if any.
In Texas, the majority of divorce cases result in both parents being named joint managing conservators of any child(ren). This is intended to provide the best standard of life for the children involved.
The Final Decree of Divorce will also spell out all the rights and duties each parent has with their children.
Possession & Access
A Final Decree will additionally break down position and access rights for parents. Under a typical joint custody scenario, one parent is typically awarded exclusive rights or is named the primary custodian. They are the parent with the right to designate the primary residence for any child(ren).
The other parent exercises visitation rights and is named the “possessory” parent. Rights and duties are typically shared and largely equal between both parents. The main difference is time spent with any child(ren).
Lastly, a parenting plan in a Final Decree of Divorce will break down the child support arrangements and requirements for one or both parents. Typically, the father or possessory parent is required to pay child support to the mother or primary custodian in most divorce cases.
A Final Decree of Divorce will break down:
- How much money is owed each month/payment cycle
- How long child support will last over the parental separation
- What options are available if the possessory parent or child support payer receives an increase or decrease in their income
How Long Do Parenting Plans Last?
Parent plans last until children reach the age of 18 or until they graduate high school, whichever occurs last. For example, if your child will become 18 in May of their senior year, your divorce’s parenting plan is still in effect until they graduate in June of the same year, not when they reach their 18th birthday.
While they are initially set in stone, parenting plans may change due to shifting circumstances for one or both parents in a case. For example, if one parent is incarcerated, the possessory parent may receive primary or exclusive custody of any child(ren).
Parenting plans may be appealed in court with the assistance of family law attorneys if one or both parents are unsatisfied with the arrangements.
How Parents’ Divorce Impacts Younger Children
Children undoubtedly make the divorce process more complex. But divorced parents can also cause additional challenges for their children. Because of this possibility, Texas courts take parental divorce custody arrangements very seriously and always make decisions based on the best interests of the child(ren).
Kids adjust in time, especially if they have come from two-parent families. But parents should still be aware of the effects of divorce during and after the process.
Many children may experience mental health troubles when their parents become divorced. This can manifest as certain delinquent behavior, shifting moods, or emotional turmoil. Texas divorce courts and family lawyers work to keep divorce proceedings civil and to prevent both parents from turning against one another, especially when custody is discussed.
Naturally, other factors such as family dynamics, family structure, and emotional support will affect how well family relationships evolve after divorce. It may be worthwhile to seek professional help from experienced divorce therapists if needed to ensure the well-being of and protect children during and after divorce.
Some children also experience drops in their school performance when their parents become divorced. This can result in serious challenges for both family and scholastic life.
Even if both parents part amicably, children may struggle to maintain a certain amount of scholastic rigor when they split their time between both parents. Texas divorce courts will recommend that both parents take an active part in their child(ren)’s education, both during primary school and if they decide to apply for and attend college.
Divorce may impact a child’s emotional maturity in many ways, including how they respond to relationships. The ultimate goal of any divorce proceeding is to minimize the emotional impact that divorce has on any child(ren).
Parents should speak to family law lawyers and be candid when discussing their options with their case’s ruling judge. Everyone involved should want what is best for the children, not necessarily what each parent may desire.
Contact Texas Family Law Lawyers Today
Ultimately, navigating the unique children’s challenges in a divorce can be very difficult without the right legal assistance. It’s never a good idea to proceed through divorce court without knowledgeable attorneys on your side.
That’s why Maynard Law is here to help. We’re well equipped and ready to assist with your upcoming divorce case and can help you navigate the legal intricacies that come along with questions of conservatorship, child support, and more.
Contact us today for more information and a free consultation.