“I am a California resident with a business and a home. I have been married over ten years, have a special needs three year old and a two month old with my spouse. Our marriage is about to end and he is threatening me that he will take the children if I do not pay him off. He has never worked full-time and is claiming he can do this as he is the primary care giver. What are my rights as the sole supporter of my children who I wish to keep full-time custody of?”
If you ask the Courts, the Courts will want to do what is in the children’s best interests. Often this equates to what is least disruptive for the children including “preserving the status quo.” If your family structure has always been one partner was the bread winner, and the other stayed home with the children as the primary caretaker, the Court may continue that. Other factors the Court will consider include: Emotional bonding of the children; children’s emotional makeup; parent’s emotional makeup; children’s need for stability and continuity; proximity of living space for you and your soon-to-be-ex; lifestyle; parent’s health or physical condition.
So there are a bunch of factors that go into a custody determination. I am not sure what “paying off” entails, or if that is even a good idea. Most divorcing couples have timeshare for both parents with the children. You will need to take a hard look at when you are available to parent, and hopefully let what is best for your children decide whether you and the ex will come together amicably to resolve timeshare of if you are going to put this critical decision into the hands of relative strangers (i.e. Court personnel).
You should definitely seek legal counsel to help you decide what your next move should be. Often the initial orders in a case have lasting effect, so you will want to figure out your rights and a case strategy if you have decided that your marriage has reached the point of irreconcilable differences.