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Would joint custody be best for your children?

Divorce is never an easy choice, and it can be most difficult for even the youngest members of the family. Children will certainly have to deal with the impact of their parent's divorce, but there are ways that parents can work to make this transition less disruptive and difficult.

Many Texas families find that they are able to provide both stability and continuity of lifestyle for their children through their child custody arrangement. For you, this may mean a joint custody arrangement. While joint custody is not necessarily the best choice for every family, it could be the best way for you and your spouse to protect the best interests of the children and parent peacefully.

Understanding the elements of joint custody

Joint custody does not mean that parents will share parenting time and responsibilities evenly. It does mean, however, that both parents will have a significant role in the life of the child. There are two main elements to joint custody, legal custody and physical custody. It is important to know and understand the differences between the two, which are as follows:

  • Legal custody: Legal custody refers to the right that a parent has to make decisions on behalf of his or her child. From religious upbringing to health care matters, parents may share legal custody or one parent may retain sole legal custody.
  • Physical custody: Physical custody pertains to how much time a child will spend with one parent. This includes holiday schedules, weekend visitation and more.

Parents may share legal custody while one parent retains physical custody. In some cases, parents are able to jointly share both physical and legal custody. What works for one family may not work for yours, and you would be prudent to carefully consider all of your options before you make any major custody-related decisions.

Your best custody order

Determining a workable, beneficial custody order does not mean that you have to go to court. You have the right to work on the terms of your agreement in negotiations and through other forms of alternate dispute resolution. Keeping it out of court may allow you more control over the details of your final order.

For many families, joint custody makes sense and allows children regular access to both parents. What this looks like for your family depends on your unique situation, special needs and other factors. As you work on the best custody arrangement for your family, you may find it beneficial to reach out for help and guidance.

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