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Does Income Affect Child Custody in an Austin High Asset Divorce?

Posted on in Child Custody

TX custody lawyerIn a high asset divorce in Texas involving minor children from the marriage, each spouse’s assets may not be equal, and the lesser earning spouse may worry that income or assets could impact the court’s child custody decision. To put it another way, in high net worth divorces where one of the spouses is the high earner or has significant family money, the other spouse might have concerns about whether a relative lack of income and assets could mean that she or he will not be eligible for child custody.

It is important for parents to know that the Texas Family Code provides guidance for making child custody determinations (known as conservatorships in Texas), and the focus of any child custody order is the “best interest of the child” standard. To be clear, Texas courts take into account a wide variety of factors in deciding what type of child custody situation is in the child’s best interests. While a parent’s income or assets could play a role in some of those factors, it is essential to know that a parent’s earning ability or relative assets are not a factor for deciding who will be a conservator for the child. A Texas high net worth divorce attorney can say more.

Texas Public Policy Focuses on Both Parents’ Rights When it Comes to Their Kids

The Texas Family Code makes clear that it is “public policy of this state” to do all of the following:

  • Assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child
  • Provide a safe, stable, and nonviolence environment for the child
  • Encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage

Nowhere in that language does the statute say that a Texas court will focus on wealth or assets in determining what is best for a child. To be clear, it is not public policy of the state of Texas to award child custody to a parent who has clearer financial means for caring for the child. Rather, the court makes child custody determinations based on what it decides to be in the best interest of the child.

Best Interest of the Child Factors

Does wealth or financial means play a role in the “best interest of the child” factors? In general, a Texas court will not expressly look at the financial means of the parties in deciding what is in the child’s best interest. What factors, then, is a court likely to consider? Most custody cases in Texas will involve some or all of the following factors:

  • Wishes of the child when the child is old enough or mature enough to make a choice
  • Physical needs of the child
  • Emotional needs of the child
  • Parental ability, including the parent’s ability to attend to the child’s intellectual, emotional, and developmental needs
  • Physical and emotional health of the parents
  • Stability of the parents’ homes
  • Any existence of family violence or abuse that could endanger the child

Contact an Austin High Net Worth Divorce Lawyer

If you have questions about child custody in a high asset divorce, an experienced Austin complex child custody attorney can assist you. At Powers and Kerr, PLLC, an aggressive Austin high asset divorce attorney or complex litigation attorney can speak with you in more detail about your case. Contact Powers and Kerr, PLLC online or call us today at 512-610-6199.




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