Divorce is difficult for everyone involved, including children. As a parent you already know this, which is why you are committed to prioritizing child custody. There can be barriers to creating the best possible child custody agreement, though.
Income does not dictate which parent gets physical custody of children. However, in certain situations, income might influence the outcome of custody proceedings. If you are on a limited income, you should not be worried about missing out on custody, but it is important to be aware of which situations might prove difficult.
What if I do not work?
Child custody agreements should always focus on children’s best interests. Of course, it is in a child’s best interests to live in a house in which they have financial support. If you did not work during the course of your marriage, then you might be concerned that you are at a disadvantage when it comes to getting custody.
In these situations, judges will typically take your ability to earn an income in the future into account. If your ex is paying child support, this should also factor in. You may also be able to rely on alimony payments until you are able to secure a job or a better paycheck.
Custody is about more than money
While financial stability is one factor when it comes to child custody, it is far from the only consideration. There are many other factors that you and your child’s other parent must consider when thinking about his or her best interests. Just a few things to keep in mind include:
- Childcare arrangements
- Mental and physical health
- Where your child’s siblings live
- Who was the primary caretaker
Depending on your child’s age, his or her preference could also be a factor. For example, if your child is a teenager and expresses he or she would prefer to live with you, you might choose to have primary custody while sharing legal custody with your ex. This would allow his or her other parent to still be actively involved in making important parenting decisions.
Avoiding court when possible
If you were a stay-at-home parent or only worked part time so you could be your child’s primary caretaker, you might not have the resources for a lengthy court battle. Cooperating and negotiating with your ex might be the best option for both you and your child. However, if your ex refuses to respect your child’s best wishes, court might be the only option left.
Child custody is just one part of divorce. You will also need to contend with issues like property division, child support and alimony, all of which can drain your emotions and your finances. Planning for a secure financial future after divorce is essential, so be sure you understand the implications of your decisions as you move through the process.