Keeping Your Kids In Your Life After Divorce
Does The Child Always Live With One Parent?
The simple answer is no. In most cases, the child will spend time with both parents. But decision-making will depend on who has conservatorship. In Texas, conservatorship means custody. There may be a court order that dictates the specific days, nights or time a child spends with each parent. It is most common that parents will share custody. Because children have school and after-school activities it is virtually impossible for the time a child spends with each parent to be exactly 50-50. Instead, a plan is created so that the child has a predictable and stable schedule.
The court order typically lays out the specific rights and duties of each parent (i.e., to make decisions regarding school, religious education, medical decisions, psychiatric decisions, etc.). If you are not married, or were not married when the child was born, you may wish to establish paternity.
How Is Conservatorship Decided?
In rare cases, one parent will have sole custody or “sole managing conservatorship.” This is usually because the other parent is physically or mentally incapable of parenting.
Conservatorship can be divided in three ways:
- Allowing one parent to make all the decisions – this is a sole managing conservatorship.
- Allowing both parents to jointly make decisions – this is a joint managing conservatorship.
- Allowing both parents to have access to the child but only one parent makes decisions – this is a possessory conservator. In this case, the child will live with one parent and spend a limited amount of time with the other parent. The possessory conservator does not have the final say on decisions made for the child.
In determining the rights and duties of the parents, the court will decide what is in the “best interest” of the child. Your custody arrangement can affect child support and other aspects of your divorce. Consulting with a family law attorney about your rights and obligations is in your best interest.
When A Child Lives With One Parent
A child may have one residence that is their primary place to live. The parent with whom the child lives with most of the time has the “exclusive right to designate the child’s residence.” The person with the exclusive right to designate the child’s residence will be considered the primary managing conservator. The other parent is then the possessory conservator. The possessory conservator is the parent whom the child does not live with but has possession and access to the child (i.e., visitation). However, as stated previously, and whenever feasible, the child will split time between both parents and both parents will be decision-makers for the child.
Getting Answers To Your Custody Questions
A divorce or breakup can be difficult on families. A change in schedules and where a child lives is a disruption. But a well-crafted plan that works for the kids and the parents is in everyone’s best interest. Fayez Hatamleh can help you navigate Texas child custody laws so that you get to spend quality time with your child. Call 713-714-0029 or connect with Fayez via the website email form. In Friendswood, Fayez serves family law clients throughout the Southern Houston metro area.