No issue in divorce proceedings is more divisive than child custody and visitation. Spouses may find themselves unable to compromise on any child-related issues during the proceedings.
When parents splitting cannot reach agreements regarding child custody and visitation, a family law judge decides. Child custody laws in Texas provide a guide for how the court may ultimately rule.
What does the court consider?
When a judge looks at the case, the focus falls squarely on the children. The court must consider what is in the best interests of the children. In a majority of divorce cases, that means having a meaningful relationship with both parents. The wishes of the children may become a factor the older they get. Unless extenuating circumstances exist, the court typically grants both parents legal custody, giving them both equal say and rights to their children.
What are different custody types in Texas?
The law provides for several custody scenarios. A judge may grant sole custody, giving only one parent legal and physical custody of the children. This happens when the other parent is unable to care for the children without supervision. However, the most common custody awarded is joint. In addition to joint legal custody, a court may award shared physical custody. This means the children go back and forth between the parents, spending no less than 35% of their time with one.
The court prefers that parents reach a compromise, especially when it comes to sharing custody. The judge has the final say in adopting parenting plans and custody arrangements the parties create. However, if it is in the best interests of the children, the adoption may go smoothly.