One of the first things an experienced Houston child custody lawyer will advise you is that a divorce with children does not end the spousal relationship. Rather, the spouses remain entangled by virtue of being co-parents of the children until they are grown… and perhaps beyond.
There are two types of child custody: legal and physical. The legal custodian makes decisions about the children’s welfare, i.e., which school they attend, what religion they practice, when they go to a doctor, whether they receive tutoring, and so on. Judges often prefer these decisions be made jointly, just as they were pre-divorce.
Physical custody refers to where the children live on a regular basis. Courts frequently favor joint physical custody so children have regular contact with both parents. If one parent has the children living with him or her, the other parent will usually be given frequent visitation rights.
Child Custody Plans
If you are divorced and no longer living with your former spouse, making quick parenting decisions will no longer work. More advanced planning is required for children regarding activities, school, going out with friends, privileges, discipline, religion, medical care, college planning, and the like.
When it comes to figuring out who has the children and when, examining how other parents have successfully handled that question can help you determine what is best for you, your former spouse, and your children.
Working it Out
Negotiating a parenting agreement can be difficult. Some spouses can do it themselves, but many need help. Consider beginning with a face-to-face discussion focused solely on working out a plan. Try to leave emotions and other issues from your divorce out of the negotiation.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on a parenting plan on your own, try again with the help of a trusted, calm, and patient friend or family member.
Alternatively, a mediator or custody evaluator can assist.
Finally, know that most parenting agreements do not remain in place, unchanged, for very long. Adaptations to new or unforeseen circumstances will be required. For example, one parent’s work schedule may change, a parent may move further away, or a child may want to spend more or less time with one parent.
A good child custody attorney can explain the options, offer suggestions, and help you resolve issues. To obtain the assistance of an experienced Houston child custody lawyer, call us today for a free consultation.