How does Texas handle child custody?

Dad and daughter together

Child custody may prove a divisive issue during divorce. Knowing how Texas law deals with custody may help keep tensions down.

State laws guide judges when it comes to deciding what type of custody a particular situation warrants. Learn more about some of these considerations to better prepare for it.

What is legal custody?

Texas law refers to legal custody as a conservatorship. The court may award joint or sole conservatorship. When a court looks at who should have custody over a child, it considers various factors, including:

  • The age and relationship of the child with both parents
  • Whether either parent presents a danger to the child
  • The wishes of the child, if old enough to express a preference

The court prefers awarding both parents joint legal custody over the child. Since children benefit from strong relationships with both parents, unless there is a compelling reason against it, a judge is likely to follow a joint conservatorship plan.

What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan is a schedule of timesharing between the parents. It addresses physical custody of the children by establishing a schedule the parents follow. If the parents have joint conservatorship, then they may divide physical custody equally if their schedules allow. However, this does not always occur. Joint physical custody does not always mean the time is equal. It merely means that both parents exercise timesharing with the children.

When parents can set aside their differences during divorce, the children benefit. Instead of waiting for a judge to decide their family’s face, spouses divorcing would do better by reaching an amicable agreement on child-related issues.

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