The vast majority of divorces in the State of Texas are no fault, which means that neither spouse is charged with causing the dissolution of the marriage. In particular situations, however, Texas divorces are based on fault, and one such category is abandonment. When a spouse abandons his or her family, the court takes notice.
Taking Care of Your Household
Keeping a household running and raising a family (if you share children) is obviously a lot of work, and if your spouse leaves you to carry on your own, it can be overwhelming. The court recognizes this fact, and in response, allows divorces based on abandonment. In the legal sense of the term, abandonment refers to a spouse who deserts his or her family with the intention of ending the marriage (as a result of his or her desertion). If you find yourself in this challenging situation, an experienced Copperas Cove family lawyer can help.
Child Custody Arrangements
The court can grant a divorce based on abandonment, and the abandonment itself can affect the court’s child custody decisions. Every decision the court makes in relation to child custody is based on what it considers to be in the best interest of the children involved. The court’s default position is that children are best served when they are able to continue fostering meaningful relationships with both parents. While abandonment is not likely to move the court away from this stance ultimately, it very well may severely limit the parenting schedule that the court grants to the parent who is deemed to have abandoned his or her family.
The Matter of Conservatorship
The court can grant a divorce based on abandonment, and the abandonment itself can affect the court’s child custody decisions. This fact is especially true, however, when it comes to the matter of conservatorship. The court does not take kindly to parents who abdicate their parental responsibilities, and this tends to come out in its decisions about conservatorship, which is all about parental responsibility.
Joint Managing Conservators
The fallback position of Texas courts is that parents should be named joint managing conservators of their shared children. Doing this means that both parents continue to share the responsibility of making important decisions on behalf of their children. The types of decisions included within this conservatorship include:
Decisions about where the children will live (within a specifically defined area)
Decisions about the children's medical treatment and health care
Decisions about the children’s education
Decisions about the children’s religious upbringing
Decisions about the children's extracurricular activities
These are critical parental decisions, and if your spouse has abandoned your family, the court may extend this abandonment to mean that he or she is not up to the task of making important decisions on behalf of your children. As such, abandonment often affects the courts’ decisions regarding conservatorship.