Let’s say you earn a modest middle-class salary, and your soon-to-be-ex
earns a six-figure salary, or they don’t have to work because they
have family money. You can only afford an apartment or a condo in San
Diego, and your spouse can afford a sprawling estate.
Now, you’re wondering, “Will my spouse win
custody of the children because they are richer than me?” Will you have to pay your spouse,
who is much wealthier than you,
child support? Will he or she win custody just because they can buy your kids more stuff?
Richer Isn’t Always Better
If you are intimidated by your spouse’s wealth and are anticipating
a child custody battle, you have every right to wonder if your spouse
will win custody because they have a lot more money than you. While it
depends, we can say that being richer does not necessarily mean a parent
is “better,” and it doesn’t guarantee them custody.
Often, the richer parent is the father (but not always) because he’s
been in the workforce longer than his wife, and he’s been able to
climb the corporate ladder. Meanwhile, his wife exited the workforce years
ago to care for the couple’s children full-time.
As a result of her absence, she cannot necessarily jump back in and earn
a good living. She may need to go back to school, get licensed, or restart
at the bottom as she refreshes her job skills – all of these things
take time. They don’t happen overnight.
Does that mean her husband is the better option because he can afford a
bigger house and to buy more things? Not necessarily, it really comes
down to the facts of the case.
Best Interests of the Child
If two parents are divorcing and they are fighting over custody and there
is a big disparity between their incomes, the court will have to examine
the facts of the case very carefully.
The richer parent could win custody, but that’s not automatic. The
poorer parent could win custody as well, even if he or she will be living
in a two-bedroom apartment while their wealthier spouse is living in a
sprawling $2 or $3 million dollar home. It all comes down to, what is
in the best interests of the child?
Some of the factors the judge is going to consider include:
- The age and health of each parent
- Each parent’s income and assets
- The child’s wishes (if the child is mature enough to voice them)
- Any history of substance abuse
Any history of
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- The child’s ties to the community
We hope you found the information in this article useful. If you need professional
legal assistance with a child custody matter in San Diego,
contact Claery & Hammond, LLP today.
When Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live with in California?