Let Our Family Look Out For Yours
  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Child Custody & Visitation
  4.  » Here’s what you should know about child custody after a divorce

Here’s what you should know about child custody after a divorce

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2022 | Child Custody & Visitation |

Even the most amicable divorce is going to be somewhat stressful. You may be moving, your financial situation is changing, usually for the worse, and you have months or even years of social awkwardness to deal with.

Minimizing the disruption to the life of your child will be among your top priorities. Fortunately, the divorce laws in Texas favor the best interests of the children. Here are the basics.

Custody options

Custody is usually assigned based on which parent was most involved with raising the child while the parents were together. Though custody can be negotiated, if the parents aren’t able to come to an agreement, the judge will usually favor the parent that did most of the heavy lifting.

Sole custody – Though it’s certainly possible to argue and win sole custody of a child during a divorce, Texas courts prefer to avoid this. Sole custody means the child primarily lives with one parent and that parent has exclusive decision-making rights to direct the child’s upbringing. One parent is usually deemed unfit for parenting for one or more reasons when sole custody is awarded.

Joint custody – In this arrangement, the child primarily lives with one parent, while the other parent has liberal visitation rights. Both parents are involved in decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.

Shared custody – In shared custody situations, the child’s time in both residences is more evenly split. The child spends at least 35% of the time in both residences over the course of a year. Again, both parents are involved in directing the child’s upbringing.

Split custody – In rare cases, split custody will be awarded when there are two children or more. In this case, each parent is awarded full custody of one or more children.

Required parenting classes

In an effort to minimize upheaval in the child’s life during and after the divorce, the courts will often require both parents to attend a divorcing parental coaching class. Divorce will not be granted until this class has been completed. It’s possible to complete this class in person or online and there’s a small fee for the class.

Other variables

The Texas Family Code establishes the best interests of the child. This takes into account the home environment with each parent, their respective financial and employment situations, the distance between residences, caretaker obligations, and any legal custody considerations. If the child is 12 years old or older, the child will have a say in these arrangements.

Child custody cases can be complicated and sometimes quite combative. If you’re facing a difficult custody battle, consult an attorney about your options.