When couples decide to divorce, one of the first decisions they need to make is what type of custody arrangement they will have for their children.
There are two main types of child custody: joint and sole.
Joint custody means that both parents share Parental Responsibility (PR) for the child, while sole custody means that one parent has PR and the other does not.
Let’s examine each type of child custody and discuss the factors to consider when making a decision that can profoundly impact your child’s future.
What is Joint Custody Versus Sole Custody in Texas?
Joint custody is a situation in which both parents share PR for their child.
This may include making joint decisions about the child’s education, religious upbringing, and medical care.
In some cases, joint custody may also involve sharing physical custody of the child, with each parent having the child for a set period.
On the other hand, sole custody refers to a situation in which one parent has PR for the child.
The other parent may still have visitation rights but will not be involved in making major decisions about the child’s life.
In Texas, joint custody is presumed to be in the child’s best interests unless evidence suggests otherwise. However, the court may order sole custody if one parent objects to joint custody.
The Benefits of Joint Custody in Texas
In Texas, child custody is determined by the child’s best interests. Joint custody, where both parents share legal and physical custody of the child, is presumed to be in the child’s best interests unless there is a finding of joint child abuse or joint domestic violence. joint child abuse or joint domestic violence.
Joint custody offers many benefits to children, including continuity of care, stability, and a close relationship with both parents.
Additionally, joint custody allows both parents to be involved in important decisions that impact their child’s life, like school selections, extracurricular activities, and vacation plans.
Research has shown that children in joint custody arrangements have better psychological outcomes than those in sole custody arrangements. Therefore, joint custody should be considered when making child custody decisions in Texas.
The Benefits of Sole Custody in Texas
While child custody can be a contentious issue, sole custody arrangements have some clear benefits.
One of the most important advantages of sole child custody is that it provides stability and consistency for the child. In a sole custody arrangement, the child knows that they will always live with one parent and have a set schedule for time with the other parent.
This can help to minimize stress and uncertainty in the child’s life. Also, sole custody arrangements often allow for more flexibility regarding parenting style. The custodial parent can make decisions about education, discipline, and other child-rearing matters without worrying about the other parent’s input.
Finally, sole custody can also be less expensive than joint custody arrangements, as it eliminates the need to pay for two households. For all of these reasons, sole custody can be a good option for families in Texas that may not have the relationships or stability for joint custody.
How to Petition for Either Custody Outcome
Parents must first file a joint petition with the court to petition for joint custody. The joint petition must be signed by both parents and must include a proposed parenting plan.
Once the joint petition is filed, a hearing will be scheduled so that the court can determine whether joint custody is in the child’s best interests.
Parents considering joint custody should consult with an experienced divorce and family law attorney to protect their rights.
If you seek sole custody of your child in Texas, you must also file a petition with the court. You will need to provide the court with information about your relationship with the child’s other parent and why you believe sole custody is in the child’s best interest.
Sole custody is not always granted, but if the court believes it is in the child’s best interest, it will be awarded.
What Do the Courts Consider When Rewarding Joint or Sole Custody?
The court will consider several factors when deciding between joint or sole custody. These factors include the child’s age, the child’s physical and emotional health, the child’s relationship with each parent, each parent’s work schedule, and each parent’s ability to provide a stable home environment.
If joint custody is not in the child’s best interests, the court may award sole custody to one parent. The court will consider all of the same factors when determining either custody option. Ultimately, the court will decide based on what is in the child’s best interests.
If you are considering a divorce and have children, it is important to understand when to make the decision about joint or sole custody.
No matter where you end up, making this decision will impact your child’s well-being and future.
Our Fort Worth divorce lawyers at Nilsson Legal Group can help you understand what to consider regarding child custody and guide you through the process.
Contact our family law firm today for a free consultation so we can help you determine what will be best for your family.