For many parents considering divorce, the impact on their relationship with their children is their biggest concern. The more important your children are to you, the more impact this concern could have on your decisions.
As someone who has put their career on the back burner for your children, you likely view them as the center of your universe. Imagining being away from them for long amounts of time or only seeing them on the weekend may make you so upset that you would rather just stay unhappily married than risk losing your parental rights.
You may worry that as a stay-at-home parent you won’t look as stable on paper as your ex who has been the primary wage-earner for your family. It is common for stay-at-home parents or those who work part-time to focus on supporting the family to worry that their career sacrifices will affect their chances in custody matters in Texas. Will your lack of income prevent you from having shared custody of the children?
Texas operates with a presumption of shared custody
Custody decisions for divorcing or separating couples in Texas are not winner-take-all conflicts. Instead, they should reflect a family’s unique current circumstances and what people think would be best for the children in the family.
Typically, a judge will approach contested custody matters with the presumption that shared parental responsibilities will be in the best interests of the children in the family. A judge will try to keep both parents involved unless one actively refuses their parental responsibilities or there is evidence that they might present a danger to the children.
Stability is an important consideration but not the only one
Between child support, spousal support, and you potentially going out to look for work, your financial circumstances alone should not lead to an unfavorable custody outcome. Having low income or no income won’t immediately preclude you from seeking shared custody or even sole custody if your ex’s career prevents them from being available for the children.
However, your stability, including your financial circumstances, does play a role in what the judge decides is in the best interests of your children. Being proactive about obtaining income and finding ways to support your children will increase the likelihood of securing a favorable custody ruling when you have been a stay-at-home parent throughout your marriage.