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Does the Parent with the Most Financial Resources Have an Advantage in a Child Custody Case?

Does the Parent with the Most Financial Resources Have an Advantage in a Child Custody Case?
April 5, 2013 LS_admin

While many factors can impact the outcome of a divorce involving minor children, sometimes parties to a divorce who rely on mistaken assumptions compromise their position.  This type of situation frequently arises when one of the parties to a divorce was less involved in the family finances and was a stay at-home parent.  When parents of a minor child divorce, it is not uncommon for the primary breadwinner and manager of the family’s financial affairs to threaten that the financially disadvantage parent will not get custody.

When a financially disadvantaged parent is not represented by an experienced Kansas child custody attorney, the parent may believe that income level and the extent of one’s assets has a significant impact on the outcome of a custody dispute.  While financial resources can have an impact on a custody dispute to the limited extent that they provide the means to obtain high quality legal representation, even this advantage is mitigated by the fact that the higher earning spouse may be required to contribute to the attorney fees of the lower wage earner.

Generally, the income or assets of a parent are not factors that the court considers when fashioning a custody order.  The judge must use the best interest of the child standard based a on a list of prescribed statutory factors, which does not include financial resources.  While a full discussion of these factors is beyond the scope of this blog post, they generally focus on the quality of the bonds and relationship between the children and each parent, as well as providing a stable environment for the minor child.

The only cases in which financial resources may play a role in determining the best interest of the child are extreme cases where a parent may be financially incapable of providing a place to live, clothes, food and other necessities to the minor children.  The court also awards child support and alimony which may even reduce concerns about economic hardships faced by a prospective custodial parent.  A parent who works long hours and can provide a larger home or more expensive clothes will not generally outweigh the ability of a parent to be more available to spend time with his or her children.

While the court will consider the capability of each parent to meet the minimal basic needs of the children, the court does not compare who can provide a more comfortable or affluent lifestyle.  If you have questions about custody or visitation in Kansas, we urge you to schedule a free consultation so that we can answer your questions.  Wichita, KS child custody attorney Thomas C. McDowell has been practicing law for over two decades.  We provide legal representation in both divorce and paternity cases. So please call us today at 316-633-4322 or submit an online case evaluation form.


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