In a divorce where one parent earns much more than the other, the lesser-earning parent may fear a lack of wealth will threaten their custody rights. While this is a valid concern, parents can rest easy knowing that judges rarely base custody decisions on income or high-value assets alone.
Courts know it needn’t take wealth to make a safe, happy home for kids, so they focus on the child’s overall best interests when making decisions. However, that is not to say that financial issues won’t impact this stage of your divorce.
Ability to provide a proper home
One way the absence of financial resources might affect child custody decisions involves the inability of one parent to afford stable housing. Parents without the means to obtain a home and maintain basic necessities like power, food and water may have trouble getting primary custody.
If you are denied custody of your children due to dire economic straits, know that this outcome need not be permanent. Since courts recognize that kids benefit from contact with both parents, you can probably modify your custody orders once you are financially stable.
Legal solutions that may help
Although California is a community property state, it does not necessarily mean your marital property will be split right down the middle. When it is fair, courts sometimes approve property settlements that give lesser-earning spouses more assets. Such a settlement might improve your financial status in the eyes of the court.
Another way of beefing up your economic position, thus improving your custody chances, is to seek a spousal support award. Alimony can increase your current income and perhaps even fund education or training to enhance your future earning capacity.
To improve your odds of getting the child custody outcome you desire, consider learning more about the laws that govern California divorces.