How do I divorce my wife and keep my kids?

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How do I divorce my wife and keep my kids?

While I am at work my wife threatens me that she is going to kick me out of my apartment and divorce me and take my girls. I have cheated in the past and she continues to hold that over my head and use it against me when she cheated on me while I was in basic training for the army. She does not have her high school diploma so I have fallen responsible for her as she has been a stay at home mom to my 1 and 4 year old girls. She controls all of my finances and monitors my money so I do not have access to the money I make. I do not know what to do.

Asked on April 24, 2012 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You have several options.  The order that you take depends on your comfort level.  One important step is to take back control of your finances.  You can open a checking account without her permission and have your paycheck direct deposited in it.  If you are going to ask the court for custody, you will need to demonstrate that you understand the household finances and have a plan for providing for your girls financially.  A second step is setting up a plan for child care.  If you have a relative that is willing and able to help with the girls, you will have a better chance of getting your girls.  This is not a guarantee, but it demonstrates that you are trying to keep the kids connected with family.  If you don't have family close by, research the daycares where you live and find one that provides the best environment for your children-- and then be able to explain your choice to the court.  (For example, this daycare has a great pre-K program)  A third step is to talk to a family law attorney.  The attorney can help you file a petition and seek temporary custody of your daughters while the divorce is pending.  No attorney can guarantee that the court will award you custody, especially considering how young the girls are, but the more responsible planning you can show the judge, the better chance you'll have.  If you are not granted custody, request an order that prohibits either spouse from bad-mouthing the other in front of the children.  Even with the best intentions, divorce is hard on everyone, especially the kids.  So take some measures to protect them from the ugly side of divorce.  It sounds like your spouse certainly has some anger issues (at least verbal and emotionally controlling ones).  Be sure to raise these concerns to the family law attorney and to the judge.  When picking an attorney, visit with a couple until you find one that you are comfortable talking too.  When it comes to your kids this is not the time to be shy.  If you can't talk to your attorney, they won't know what to communicate.  You will also want to run them on the State Bar of Texas website.  This will tell what type of law they actually practice on a regular basis and whether or not any grievances have been filed against them.  This sounds a little tenacious, but your also working on your girls' future-- so take the time to do it right.


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