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How should you and your spouse divide up parental rights in a divorce?

By the time you have decided to file for divorce from your spouse, you will have hopefully thought long and hard about some goals that you would like to accomplish during the process.

Divorce is not easy, but coming up with some goals and planning as best you can for your life after divorce is one way to manage the difficulties and stresses that come along with a divorce. How your life ends up looking when the lawyers, the arguments, and the judge goes away is due no small part to how well you managed to plot the course for the rest of your life.

If you have children, the essential part of your case involves your family. The one part of parenting that many parents get up in arms about in a divorce is the possession aspect.

How often you can physically have your children with you is what matters most to many parents. Of course, this is understandable. You may have worried that the access and time that you previously had with your children is going to be significantly curtailed as a result of having to split custody with your spouse.

One area that parents tend to overlook, despite its relative importance in parenting, is the rights you hold as a parent to your child. When you are married, you and your spouse probably make many decisions about your children together as a team. That’s not to say that in some areas, your spouse may have had more say or vice versa, but the law doesn’t get into how you and your spouse made decisions for your children. Once you are divorced, that all changes pretty quickly.

Final Decree of Divorce: Your Parenting Roadmap

If you get divorced, then ultimately your and your spouse’s parenting responsibilities will be outlined in your Final Decree of Divorce. What you can and cannot do and what your responsibilities are gone over in detail within this document. If you have questions about anything, your Decree is the best resource to utilize to find answers.

Your rights as a divorced parent to receive information from your ex-spouse, go over big decisions with them prior to their being made, or ability to access medical and educational records of your child will be split between the two of you in your Decree.

The reason for this is that the law no longer assumes that you and your spouse will be able to share these rights without issue. The reason why you are getting a divorce may have a great deal to do with not being able to share in the rights of your children amicably.

Many parents find that one parent is better suited to make decisions on specific subjects and the other is better equipped to make decisions on different topics. During a marriage, this is fine, and as long as those decisions are being made in the best interests of your children, there will not be an issue. However, once you and your spouse are divorced, the judge in your case will need to see that the rights to your children are allocated in specific ways between you and your spouse.

The right to designate the primary residence can be an essential topic in a divorce.

One of the most highly litigated and argued about subjects in a divorce is the right to be able to determine the primary residence of your children. This means the right to be able to either have your children reside with you primarily or have them live with your ex-spouse primarily. I think the reason for this goes back to what I had mentioned earlier about parents keying in on time issues over and above anything else.

The parent with the right to determine the primary residence of your children will have your children during the week for the school year and will have certain weekends provided to them as well for weekend visitation. In a Standard Possession Order, if you are named the parent with the right to determine the primary residence of your child, then you will have possession of your child about 55% of the year, with your spouse having the remaining 45%.

Other vital rights that will be allocated in your divorce

The right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures will be divided between you and your spouse. Often a “tie-breaker” is appointed in the Decree if you and your spouse differ on whether your child should have a procedure or not.

Another fundamental right to be divided is making decisions about your child’s education. Classes that they could be enrolled in, whether or not to skip your child ahead of a grade or hold her back, are all the sort of decisions considered in this right.

If you hold an independent right to make a decision involving these areas, this means that you can make decisions without your other parent agreeing with you. Often you need to give written notice to the other parent in advance of the decision being made.

For example, if you believe that your child should have a particular surgical procedure performed, you often must provide written notice to your ex-spouse. The reason for this is to allow still the other parent to be informed and involved in the process even if their approval is not required.

Questions about the allocation of parental rights in your divorce? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

The impact of allocating specific rights to your children can be far-reaching and significant. If you have any questions on this subject or any other in family law, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, today. A licensed family law attorney is available six days a week to answer your questions in a free-of-charge consultation.


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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's essential to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Spring, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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