Texas Divorce and Custodial Rights
The primary concern in any divorce involving children focuses on child custody arrangements. Divorce is hard on everyone, and your children’s well-being is naturally your top priority. The first decision that must be made is whose home will be the children’s primary household. If both of you are in agreement, you may decide that neither of your homes will be the kids’ primary household. Without such a mutual decision, however, you must designate a primary residence. If you and your divorcing spouse can’t agree on whose home this will be, the court will make the decision for you. The court’s decision is always guided by the children’s best interests and never favors one parent over the other.
That said, if your goal is primary custody, there are things you shouldn't do.
Determining the Rights and Responsibilities of Custodial Parents
The Texas Family Code provides guidance related to the rights and responsibilities of custodial parents (Texas law uses the term conservatorship instead of custody). After the foundational issue of whose home will be the children’s primary residence is determined, the significant rights and responsibilities related to visitation, child support, and decision making must be established.
The Nine Rights of Custodial Parents
The State of Texas forwards nine distinct rights and responsibilities of custodial parents:
The right to designate the children’s primary residence
The right to consent to the children’s medical, dental, and surgical treatments involving invasive procedures
The right to consent to the children’s psychiatric and psychological treatment
The right to receive and provide receipt of the children’s periodic child support payments and the right to hold and/or disperse these funds for the children’s benefit
The right to represent and to make significant legal decisions on behalf of the children
The right to consent to any of the children’s decisions to enlist in the armed forces and/or to marry
The right to make important decisions about the children’s education
The right to the children’s services and earnings
The right to act as the children’s agent in relation to their estate if such action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government (except in those instances when a guardian of the children’s estate or a guardian or attorney ad litem has been appointed on the children’s behalf).
Allocating these Rights between Parents
Some of these rights and responsibilities are more relevant and important to your children's lives than others are. When both parents are invested in participating in making important decisions for their children, the court has no preferred method for the allocation of these rights between the parents. The parents’ rights are typically allocated in one of several ways:
The rights go to one parent exclusively.
The rights go to one parent, but he or she must first confer with the other parent.
Both parents jointly share the rights.
The rights are awarded separately, and either parent can make important decisions related to the children on his or her own at any time.
If you and your divorcing spouse can't come to an agreement on this important matter, the court will make the determination for you.
Want to learn more about the difference between joint and sole custody?
Issues related to Child Custody Are Paramount. Consult with an Experienced Central Texas Family Law Attorney Today
Child custody arrangements are typically the primary concern of divorcing couples. If you’re facing a divorce, consult with the dedicated legal professionals at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Central Texas today. For more information, please contact or call us at (254) 220-4225.