You and your spouse have made the decision to divorce. While both of you are likely to be under more stress than usual, your child may be feeling even more stress.
Once the divorce has been finalized, the custody should have also been decided. The judge may have decided to allow one parent to have the responsibility of making all decisions.
How the court decides on child custody
The family court judge in your divorce has three options to consider. These are:
- One parent acts as a sole managing conservator — they make all the decisions concerning their child
- Both parents make child-related decisions — a joint managing conservatorship
- One parent makes all of the decisions, while the child lives with that parent — this is a possessory conservatorship; the child spends some time with their other parent, with visits
The court decided that your child should live with one parent. It based its decision on your child’s “best interest.” This means the judge believes that your child will do better living with just one parent.
As the primary parent, make decisions that benefit your child
If you hold the role of sole managing conservator, the decisions you make should benefit your child. You are the parent with the right to decide where you and your child will live.
If the judge decided that your former spouse can spend time with your child, follow the visitation or “possession and access” schedule so your child is able to spend time with both of you.
The primary parent should provide stability for the child
Your role as the sole managing conservator means you are responsible for providing a stable home for your child. Create routines and stick to them as much as you can. Creating stability, continuity and routines helps your child feel more secure.
Emotionally, a child adjusts better when they know what to expect — for instance, you and your child eat dinner before they watch a television show.