One of the most antagonistic issues when a marriage between parents ends, whether it is in Texas or any other state, involves matters concerning the children and who will raise them. While parents typically want what is best for their children, coming to mutual agreements can be tough. In most divorce cases, the courts avoid excluding one parent from child custody except when there is evidence of physical, drug or alcohol abuse by a parent. However, the preferences of parents will be considered by the court. Before parents negotiate child custody, it may help to understand the different options.
Although joint custody is a popular choice, there is also the option of split custody. This is often frowned upon, but under certain circumstances, it may be in the best for siblings to be split. Before a court allows one child to live with one parent and a sibling to live with the other parent, it will consider the relationships between the individual parents and each child. The parents’ work schedules, the areas where they will live and the proximity to the children’s schools will be considered. Only when the court is satisfied that it will be in the best interests of the children will it consider split (divided) child custody.
If a couple decides on shared or joint custody, they will both typically have the authority to make decisions about matters such as medical care, education, religion, extracurricular activities and more. They will also share physical custody by having the children live with each parent according to a parenting plan that allows each parent more or less equal amounts of time with the children. It is also possible for parents, for instance, to share physical custody but for one parent to have sole legal custody, giving that parent the exclusive right to make important decisions.
When Texas parents are considering divorce, it may be wise for each party to retain the services of a skilled family law attorney to provide guidance and support. An experienced lawyer will know the detailed intricacies of the applicable laws and can explain the available options related to child custody. If appropriate, mediation can be arranged during which each parent’s attorney may sit in to provide valuable advice and ensure the legality of any final agreement that will be presented to the court.
Source: FindLaw, “What’s the Difference Between Split Custody and Joint Custody?“, George Khoury, Sept. 29, 2016