Q: How will the following look to a judge.
How will it look to a judge that my son is paying a monthly amount to his wife who has walked out on him and four children? My daughter-in-law left in January and has little to do with the family. However, she drives the kids to school each morning and when our son needs to be out of town, she comes back to fill in. They are not legally separated. Our son is military. He says if it comes to a divorce, he wants full custody of the kids. I'm afraid a judge might think he is supporting her leaving by his paying her. They are currently stationed in Hawaii.
First, if he is in he military, he is likely required to support his spouse by the military so long as he is married. I have had my military male clients get reported by the separated wife to his chain of command for not supporting her, and it has caused my clients problems.
Second, I tell all my clients, especially men, to always wear the "white hat" when working through a divorce.
What your son is doing sounds like "white hat" behavior to me.
Finally, in all states, custody is determined by what is in the best interest of the children. The temporary arrangement should not matter particularly. In custody cases, the judge is usually only interested in what arrangement will suit the children the best going forward.
Everything above can be overridden by a competent Hawaii divorce attorney. Divorce laws are very local and vary significantly from state-to-state. Your son needs to see a local divorce attorney before making any further decisions.
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