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Child custody brings many less obvious responsibilities

Sole custody of a child can be obtained in various ways, including an agreement arranged by parents, a parent's death, or legal custody awarded by a Texas family court. An informal custody agreement by parents is not legal and will not hold up in court if any disputes arise. Legal child custody can be either physical custody or legal custody, or both. This is a complicated area of family law and parents may want to ensure they are informed about their legal responsibilities.

The court expects a custodial parent to encourage a continued relationship between his or her children and the children's non-custodial parent. For that reason,a  workable parenting plan should be drafted, and it will include a visitation schedule. Parents should consider each other when changes or deviations to the plan are required, by informing the children's other parent in advance. One parent may have sole physical custody, while parents may have joint legal custody, resulting in the need for discussions over all legal matters.

A custodial parent should inform a non-custodial parent of plans to take an out-of-state vacation, while an intention to relocate has to be approved by the court. Both parents may benefit from keeping accurate records of all matters related to child support payments. In the event of unpaid child support, the court may require proof of payments received by the custodial parent, and, in turn, the non-custodial parent may need to provide evidence of payments made.

Even the best-made plans or arrangements can go wrong, and custodial or non-custodial parents in Texas may become involved in child custody disputes. To help resolve such issues, the support and understanding of an experienced family law attorney may be invaluable. Not only will such a professional protect the rights of the parent, but he or she will also protect the best interests of the children.

Source: singleparents.about.com, "Custodial Parents' Responsibilities", Debrina Washington, Accessed on Jan. 31, 2015

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