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Juliana, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1651
Experience:  23 years of legal experience, former child support attorney, currently practicing family law
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my husband and I are seperating. we have 4 children. he wants

Resolved Question:

my husband and I are seperating. we have 4 children. he wants to seperate for 6 months and have 2 children live with me and 2 children live with him, sharing time spent with all 4. Is this a good idea
Submitted: 5 years ago via Nolo Press.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Juliana replied 5 years ago.



Thanks for your question.


My answer to whether this living arrangement would be a good idea depends in part on the relationship you have with your husband. If the two of you can agree to work together to ensure that the children have an environment that is as stable as possible despite the fact that all of you will not be living together as a family, it might be a do-able situation. But, if you and your husband are constantly bickering, especially about the kids (e.g., who will live where, how much time they will spend with each of you, etc., etc.), then I don't think an arrangement like this, where the kids are living in different places and going back and forth, would be a good idea.


Another concern is how the kids feel about this type of living arrangement. The separation or divorce of their parents is always an adjustment for kids, particularly if, as I mentioned earlier, they are moved around from one parent's residence to the other. If there is a short distance between your home and your husband's home, it might not be so disruptive as if you were to live in different towns or states.


Keep in mind that if either you or your husband later decides to file for divorce, the judge will consider the children's living arrangements since the time that you and he separated. If two kids continually live with him, and the other two continually live with you, the judge could end up making that a permanent arrangement (subject to modification at a later date, of course, but a custody modification is not without its own set of hassles).


Again, if everyone -- including the kids, if they are old enough to voice their preferences to the judge at a later date, if necessary in a divorce proceeding-- is agreeable to this type of arrangement, things will probably work out okay in the long run. The best indicator is how well you and your husband get along, and how capable you both are of making this work.


Hope this provides you with some insight. Good luck.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
if we reach this decision, we are talking about having a contract drawn up with both parents wants and expectations. We DO NOT want any arguing about the children, that is why we are discussing this option vs a custody battle. Who should I have look at the contract to ensure that me and the children are protected? Can I move out before all of this is looked at by a mediator or lawyer and made official or will that look bad on me?
Expert:  Juliana replied 5 years ago.

It sounds as though you want to have a legal separation, however, Texas law has no provision for a legal separation. Therefore, if you and your husband draw up a contract regarding the children, it would not be legally enforceable in family court if either of you were to violate it. It would simply be a "written understanding" or "putting your thoughts on paper," or something of that nature between the two of you. A lawyer is usually the best person to write up an agreement. But, if you foresee a divorce at any point in your future, you might consider going ahead and filing a petition for that now, since the family court judge can issue temporary orders regarding support, custody, etc. that will actually have "teeth" if there would happen to be a violation.


Truthfully, yes -- the party who moves out of the marital residence is usually viewed as the deserter, so to speak, at least in terms of disrupting the children's home life and stability. Family law, to a very strong degree, favors stabliity when it comes to children and separating/divorcing parents. Judges want to try to keep things as "normal" as possible for the children.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
if I fight him for custody he will try to prove that I am an "unfit" mother. What is considered an unfit mom? I am scared to fight him for fear that I will loose my kids all together
Expert:  Juliana replied 5 years ago.
Texas courts make custody awards based on what is in the best interests of the child/children. For a court to declare a parent unfit, there would likely have to be, for example, evidence of abuse, drug usage, alcoholism, neglect, placing the children in dangerous situations, etc. Husbands/wives often threaten to prove that the other parent is "unfit" in a custody situation, but they usually don't succeed due to its difficulty.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I am a horrible housekeeper can he use this to have me considered unfit?

Expert:  Juliana replied 5 years ago.
Your failure to keep a neat/clean house really doesn't mean you are an unfit mother, unless it causes the living conditions to be so bad that your house is full of rodents and insects that could endanger the health/safety of the children.
Juliana and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
my oldest child is 15 and she is a red cross certified babysitter and is homeschooled. If we go ahead with the 50/50 custody of the children, can she watch my youngest (2 yrs) while I work and we homeschool at night??
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
my oldest child is 15 and she is a red cross certified babysitter and is homeschooled. If we go ahead with the 50/50 custody of the children, can she watch my youngest (2 yrs) while I work and we homeschool at night??
Expert:  Juliana replied 5 years ago.
I apologize for the delay in answering. Just Answer has been late on sending out email notifications for pending questions.

i wouldn't see this as being a problem, for your daughter to babysit her younger sibling, and then you homeschooling the children at night.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

ok, thank you for EVERYTHING My husband and I (I let him read all of this) are going to go talk to a lawyer on Tuesday and get things rolling. I do not like having to split the children up but I am only going to be 20 minutes away and I think by doing it this way it will much less difficult on the children.


Is there anything in particular that I need to make sure is in this petition to where I do not look bad for leaving the home. ( I am leaving the home because I can get a job in town and it will be cheaper than where we are now.)

Expert:  Juliana replied 5 years ago.

Perhaps you could put something like "by mutual decision, wife will move from the marital residence to X city, which will enable her to have more opportunities for employment," or something to that effect. But, I suggest that when you consult with a lawyer on Tuesday, you should also ask him/her about this.


Good luck!

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