Is Joint Custody an Option for Your Family?
There are many ways custody can be arranged in Texas, which is a good thing because each family has different needs. Some parents are drawn to having a joint custody arrangement because they think it is the most equitable way to share a child.
Two Types of Joint Custody
There are two types of custody: physical and legal. In joint physical custody arrangements, a child spends an equal amount of time living with each parent. In joint legal custody, the parents are jointly responsible for making important decisions regarding the child (such as education or medical decisions). This is referred to as joint managing conservatorship. A custody arrangement could provide for joint managing conservatorship, but one parent could still be the primary custodial parent.
How Joint Physical Custody Schedules Work
In divorce cases in which the parents share physical custody equally, the child will typically alternate weeks with parents. Another setup will have the child spending two nights with one parent, two nights with the other, and three nights with the first parent. The next week, the schedule will be reversed.
When Is Joint Custody Not an Option?
In any joint custody arrangement, the parents should be able to get along with each other and make decisions together. If the parents cannot do this, it often is better to give one parent more responsibility and parenting time so that conflicts are minimized.
Another time joint physical custody should not be an option is if the parents live far away from each other. This could make regular changes in where the child sleeps logistically difficult. It can also interfere with schooling.
Joint custody also may not be an option if it is not in the child’s best interests to spend time alone with one parent. This may be the case if a parent has a history of domestic violence, a substance abuse issue, or a mental illness that impairs his or her ability to parent.
Often, custody arrangements will work for a few years and then need to be changed based on the child’s schedule. Joint custody may be easier when the child is young and not in school but may become more difficult as the child gets older and has more extracurricular interests.
Contact a Richmond, Texas, Divorce Attorney
A family law attorney can be beneficial to you during custody proceedings in several ways. An attorney can review your case and based on years of experience, tell you which custody option would be the best fit for your family. To schedule your first meeting with the Richmond, TX, divorce lawyers at The Vendt Law Firm, PLLC, call (832) 276-9474 today.