If you and your spouse are divorcing, one of the primary issues that you will need to resolve is your child custody arrangements. If you see eye-to-eye on the matter – or there is not too much distance between your thoughts on the matter – you can negotiate your own terms (with the careful guidance of a Lampasas custody attorney who will help ensure that your parental rights are well protected throughout the process), and the court will almost assuredly include them in your divorce decree. If you are unable to come to mutually acceptable terms, however, the court will need to intervene on your behalf, and they consider a wide range of factors in the process.
In Texas, child custody is called conservatorship, but the terms break down into the same basic categories that make up what you likely think of as child custody. There are both legal and physical custody matters to consider.
Legal custody refers to who will be making the big decisions that life throws parents regarding their children, including decisions related to all of the following:
Where the children live
Where the children attend school
What kind of religious upbringing the children have
The medical care received by the children
The children’s extracurricular activities
Both parents can share legal custody, or it can be one parent’s sole responsibility.
Physical custody refers to whom the children live with. One parent may be the primary custodial parent while the other has a visitation schedule, or both parents may split their time with the children more equally. Because the court bases its decisions related to physical custody on the best interests of the children involved, it is rare for a parent to receive no visitation time with his or her children.
The Factors That Play an Important Role
Texas courts, as mentioned, base their child custody decisions on the children’s best interests, and it is nearly universally believed that – barring extreme conditions – children’s best interests are best served by spending time with both parents – and continuing to foster both important relationships. In its decision-making process regarding custody concerns, the courts take all of the following factors into careful consideration:
The children’s ages
The children’s emotional and physical needs (including any special needs)
Each parent’s ability to provide the children with the care, supervision, and appropriate discipline they need
Each parent’s access to extended family or other helpful support systems
The relative stability of each parent’s home
Any history of mental or physical abuse on the part of either parent
Reach Out to an Experienced Lampasas Custody Attorney Today
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Lampasas, Texas, is a practiced custody attorney who is attuned to the importance and complexity of custody-related concerns and is committed to skillfully advocating for your parental rights. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.