Parents who have decided that a divorce or separation is the best solution for a troubled relationship have many concerns. The issue that takes precedence for the majority of parents is deciding on child custody plans. While legal custody is not usually a sticking point for most families, Texas residents may struggle to settle on the most suitable physical custody arrangement.
Legal and physical child custody are both matters that parents will need to address, whether they can arrive at an agreement between themselves or with the guidance of family law attorneys. Legal custody pertains to which parent will make the major decisions regarding important concerns like education, health care and religious instruction. Unless there is a concern over the fitness of a parent, most parents will share legal custody with both parties having a say in these important decisions. Physical custody deals with how the child will spend time with each parent.
Physical custody is approached with the intention of keeping the child's best interest as the priority. While one parent may be awarded primary custody due to circumstances, most states encourage parenting plans that permit the child to spend as much time with each parent as possible. In Texas, once a child reaches the age of 12, a court will take his or her wishes into account, though this is not the only determining factor when awarding custody. Though it may be possible for many parents to reach a joint agreement over this important issue, others will need to litigate the issues in court before a final order is made.
Once a child custody agreement has been finalized, life circumstances may require that these agreements be revisited. If these agreements are changed, it is important that the revisions are legally noted. Even if parents are able to work relatively well together in these negotiations, the assistance of an experienced family law attorney may prove to be invaluable to a client in many situations.