You were shocked when your wife decided she wanted to get a divorce, and you immediately felt threatened. You have a family, two children you love, and you thought everything was fine. Now, you're worried that she'll win custody and get alimony, stripping you of your financial independence and taking away your children.
Times have changed.
Although it might have been the case in the past that women were more likely to obtain custody and alimony, that's not true today. Today, the courts want to see children in situations where they see both parents and live with the parent best able to care for them. Many parents actually share custody and have joint custody arrangements, which means that both have custody around 50 percent of the time. This works well if parents live in the same city, for example.
Joint Physical Custody and Joint Legal Custody
One thing you might want to look into is joint physical and legal custody. With this arrangement, you and your children's mother both have the legal right to make decisions about your children's medical care, schooling and other needs. Having joint physical custody means that both parents should see their children a significant amount of time over the course of a year.
One way to work out a joint custody schedule is to have your children two weeks a month while their mother has them another two weeks a month. You may also decide to share custody in a way that keeps your children at their mother's home or your home during the week and at the other parent's home during the weekends during the school year and then reverse that in the summer. If you believe joint custody will work in your case, you have a right to fight for it.
Keep in mind, though, that these matters are best negotiated with the help of an experienced family law attorney. Much is at stake in child custody decisions, and a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer can help protect your interests and those of your child.