Divorce can be a time of very high emotions and tensions, and for many Texas couples with children, the animosity can extend to custody and support. However, parents do have options for resolving custody issues together, without ending up in a drawn-out, potentially expensive, and often more hurtful courtroom battle.
Texas parents who are no longer in a relationship know that their children remain a connection between them. After negotiating custody and support, parents still need to continue navigating the raising of the children. This includes regular exchanges when children go from the physical custody of a parent to another.
Texas fathers may spend more time with their children and consider parenting more central to their identity than fathers in previous decades, but they are still not spending as much time on child care as mothers. Almost twice as many fathers as mothers say they do not spend enough time with their children. These were among the findings nationwide of a Pew Research Center survey from 2015.
Texas parents who are undocumented or who know someone with an undocumented immigration status may already be aware of some lawyers' volunteer efforts to help immigrants with children. Throughout the country, some attorneys and law students are volunteering to help immigrants without documentation to prepare the documents they need to transfer custody of their children to trusted individuals in the event that they are deported.
Texas parents who are ending their marriage may not be aware that multiple research studies show that children who have both parents in their lives following a divorce have, on average, better lives than those who only have one parent who has sole custody. Even so, census data reveals that U.S. courts award primary physical custody to the mother in approximately 80 percent of the cases. As such, fathers should continue to fight for joint custody.
If Texas parents cannot provide proper care for their children, a family member, such as an older sibling, may attempt to seek custody to keep the children from going into foster care. However, getting custody can be tricky if the children's parents do not want to relinquish custody or if the older sibling is too close in age to the minor child.
Texas parents who decide to get divorced may need to contend with child custody issues. Traditionally, courts have given mothers primary physical custody of their children while fathers are granted weekend visitation. Courts have since moved on to favor shared parenting arrangements in which the children move between the parents' houses and spend nearly equal amounts of time with both.
When Texas parents have substance abuse issues, it could impact their ability to have possession or access to a child. Substance abuse could refer either to an alcohol problem or an addition to any illegal substance. Authorities may get involved in the matter if a complaint is filed with either the court that issued the custody order or to the Department of Family and Protective Services.
As Texas kids get older, sharing time between their divorced parents can become more difficult, especially as the children begin to express where they would prefer to spend their time. However, the judge may take the children's opinion into consideration under some circumstances when resolving the child custody dispute.
Divorced Texas parents who share custody of their children may find that arranging vacations, such as spring break for school, can present complications. For those who agree on custody terms during vacation that are at odds with the terms of a custody order, they should make sure that they are able to verify the agreement if asked. If a child custody order does not specify how vacations should be handled and a dispute arises, it may be necessary to go to court to resolve the issue. Either way, estranged parents can benefit from learning how to avoid custody disputes regarding vacations.