Mark Childress, PC

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Giving custody to the primary caretaker

Some Texas couples going through divorce struggle to make good decisions during the separation process. For families with children, deciding on custody issues can be quite a challenge. Ideally, the divorcing couple will set aside their differences and work together to develop a parenting plan that works best for the children.

Unfortunately, there are cases in which the divorcing couple is unable to reach an agreement. In such situations, the couple may have to go to court and ask a judge to make decisions about child custody. When making a decision, the judge will consider the child's best interests.

One criterion for determining "best interests" is whether a child is more strongly bonded to a primary caretaker. If this is the case, the judge may award primary physical custody to the parent who has spent the most time with the child over the past several years. The reason for this is that judges generally want to provide stability for children during the trauma of divorce.

Much has changed in family life over the past several decades. Not so long ago a child's primary caretaker was almost always his or her mother. This is no longer the case, however, as gender roles and expectations have become more flexible. A judge will have to consider testimony and evidence regarding parental involvement in a child's life.

Many child custody cases can become extremely complicated. That's why some divorcing parents may benefit from consulting with an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer might be able to review the client's case and make recommendations regarding a realistic parenting plan.

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