There’s no mistaking that life after divorce will be considerably different for you and your child. Of course, the Court will always do its best to determine a stable home and each parent’s role and responsibilities moving forward, but that doesn’t change the fact that everyone will need time to adjust. As you and your family enter into this process for the first time, it won’t help matters that you will likely see and hear a variety of child custody myths on TV and social media that will make you worry even more about what could happen next.
Your advocates here at Christman Attorneys, PLLC, want to assure you that these wild stories are nothing more than that — myths. While they sound true and sometimes can be in extreme circumstances, they’re typically overblown and don’t represent most cases.
Here are a few child custody myths you’re better off taking with a grain of salt.
4 Common Child Custody Myths
Myth #1 — Mom always receives custody
This is one of many child custody myths that continue to live on because it’s literally what we see and read about all the time: Two people get divorced, and the child is seemingly automatically awarded to the mother. While statistics show that mothers tend to “win” child custody rights most of the time, it’s incorrect to say that fathers never win similar suits. A Court’s job is to do what’s in the child’s best interest, and the reality is that many courts will award primary custody to dads where appropriate.
Additionally, defining custody as an either/or and misunderstanding the pieces of child custody is part of the confusion here because, in the majority of cases, mom and dad “share” the ability to make decisions for the child regarding health, education, overall welfare, etc., which is referred to as joint custody (called conservatorship in Texas).
Myth #2 — My child can choose which parent to live with
Unless the child is over the age of 18 and can choose on their own who they prefer to live with, a judge has no obligation to solely use what a child wishes as the deciding factor in child custody. Could the judge confer with the child directly or indirectly to gauge their preference? yes. But the decision on which parent the child lives with is based on many factors, including but not limited to their current living situation and the stability of that home, the ability of either parent to raise the child, each parent’s future plans to raise the child, and if there is any evidence of harm or abuse. Ultimately, the best interest of the child controls.
Myth #3 — All child custody cases are contentious
This is simply untrue. Child custody battles can be complex and even contentious, but there are so many parents who would rather put their differences aside and work together to amicably determine what makes the most sense for their child moving forward. Many times, these parents can reach an agreement without going to trial.
Myth #4 — I can withhold visitation rights if my ex doesn’t pay child support
This is not only one of the more false child custody myths out there, but it’s also illegal. Child custody and child support are separate legal issues. Furthermore, you could risk the other parent being able to change the custody arrangement in their favor if you withhold visitation without getting Court approval. If your ex-spouse isn’t paying their child support, it’s best to work that out separately through an enforcement. Do not defy your child custody order by denying them visitation.
Our mission is to provide our clients with long-range perspectives and outstanding legal advice that help them rebuild their families after marital dissolution. Some cases require aggressive advocacy, while others require patience, de-escalation, and diplomatic solutions. Especially when children are involved, we help the client develop and execute the best strategies to avoid leaving a wake of destruction — the brunt of which falls largely on innocent and impressionable children.
Please call Christman Attorneys, PLLC, for your legal needs today!
Please consult an attorney for advice about your individual situation. The material on this website and in this or any blog article we publish are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Christman Attorneys, PLLC, believes in tailoring legal advice and solutions to your own personal circumstances.
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