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How can fathers prepare for child custody responsibilities?

Shared child custody is the choice of many divorcing parents in Texas. However, once that decision is made, the details have to be worked out. Devising a workable parenting plan may prove to bring about some issues that were not anticipated when deciding on joint child custody.

It is not uncommon for many fathers to spend most of their time pursuing their careers while many mothers spend most of their time at home with the children. It is, therefore, only natural for a mother to feel that the father may not be capable of taking proper care of the children. Will a father who has typically spent an hour or two with the children at dinner and before bedtime be prepared for the responsibilities of 24-hour care? In order to draft a parenting plan that accommodates both parents and protects the interests of the children, the guidance of an experienced mediator may be invaluable.

A parenting plan will detail the days the children will spend in the physical custody of each parent, along with specifications of the transportation and times when exchanges will take place. The plan will also define how legal and medical decisions will be made, and how cases of emergency will be handled. It will also specify who will be responsible for paying health care. In addition, matters about the education of the children and who would have access to school records will be addressed.

An experienced Texas family law attorney will facilitate mediation where the concerns of both parents will be discussed, and a workable parenting plan may be drafted through communication and compromise. Once finalized, the parenting plan has to be approved by the family court and will be enforceable on both parents. More information about child custody and parenting plans is available on our family law website.

Source: fatherhood.about.com, "What Every Father Needs to Know About Parenting Plans", Wayne Parker, Dec. 19, 2014

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