Question: I have been in the process of a divorce for 5+ years (set aside due to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing). I am now discharged and trying to get my spouse to sign. We share custody of our son (week on, week off). She has since purchased a house and from my understanding received a very significant settlement ($60,000-90,000) to move. I had presented her a final decree to sign and she has refused. She now says she wants to have the co-parent label removed and wants to be the primary. I have been told previously that I am entitled to a portion of the settlement and since she purchased the house while still married it is considered community property. I just want the divorce finalized and continued shared custody. What, if any, options or leverage might I have?
Answer: Only an attorney in your jurisdiction (Texas) can provide you with an accurate analysis of your case, but I can make a few general observations.
I am not sure that there currently exists an option where you simultaneously achieve a swift finalization of your divorce and the co-parenting plan you desire. One option is to settle on your wife’s terms, which would provide you with an immediate finalization but not the parenting plan you desire.
The second option is to remove the previous proposal for settlement from the table and begin the litigation process, which may very well give you the parenting plan you desire and a portion of any property that has been accumulated during your marriage, but will certainly extend the divorce proceedings. If your goal is to continue sharing custody of your son, I suggest you meet with an attorney to discuss how the contested divorce or dissolution process unfolds in your jurisdiction.
Jill Best is the Managing Attorney for the Overland Park, Kansas office of Cordell & Cordell, PC.