Book an appointment using SetMore

What is joint custody?

When going through a divorce or child custody case in Texas, it is important to be aware of the different types of car city arrangements that may be utilized for your family when creating temporary or final orders. The type of custody arrangement you have with your children and your Co-parent will impact how frequently you can see your children and what rights and duties you will have about your children. A custody case is about more than just how often you can see your children. Rather, every component of your relationship with your kids will be impacted by the custody case.

For instance, many people don't consider parental rights and duties about their children at the beginning of a case. Most parents like you understandably are concerned primarily with spending as much time with their children as possible during the family law case and afterward. Less consideration is provided, and less attention is given to the actual rights and duties of children. Just stop and think about all the different areas of your life that you as a parent impact regarding your children. Their education, their health, where they live, and many other areas are your responsibility daily.

What a family case will do is put these rights and responsibilities on paper for the first time. At the same time, there was no clear delineation between you and your Co-parent regarding who makes certain decisions when and where; that distinction will now be marked in a family court order. How these rights and duties, in addition to the division of time between both parents, are divided will be determined by the circumstances of your case. Family cases are incredibly fact-specific, meaning that cases typically hinge more on the circumstances of what is happening with you and your children versus the finer points of Texas family law.

What I would like to accomplish in today's blog post from the law office of Brian Fagan is to be able to share with you my thoughts on what are the major concepts in child Cassidy in Texas and what it means for you both during and after the family law case has come to an end. As always, if you have any questions about the material that we discussed in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the law office of Brian Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer a free-of-charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video.

Child custody- what does it mean exactly?

I think we are all familiar with the term custody. We use a word in our culture quite often, especially if you are around people not living in the same home as their child's other parent. As we are increasingly becoming a society where fewer people are married and more people live apart from their child's other parent, this should come as no surprise. You and your friends may have even had conversations about child custody, a certain parent having full custody, or engaged in conversation about what you want to see happen with custody in your case.

Cassidy may be a term that we are all familiar with, but it surprisingly does not come up in the Texas family code. You can search high and low for the term custody and the family code but will have trouble locating it. Rather, the term you see much more frequently used is conservatorships. Conservatorships are a beefier term that encapsulates what we consider when considering custody and additional components that most of us do not think of. Otherwise, custody issues in a divorce or child custody case breakdown into a few different columns most typically.

There are two major components to conservatorships issues you will encounter in your divorce or child custody case. The first of the two issues is possession and visitation with your children. This is the topic that most parents highlight and pay attention to at the beginning of the case. The reason for that is given how many parents understandably are concerned with maximizing the time they have with their kids. You may be one of those parents who has been denied time with your children previously or always had plenty of time to spend with the kids. Either way, the time with your children that you can spend is significant to you.

Visitation and possession are two important components to the topic of children and custody. In a typical family law case, you will be named the primary conservator or the nonprimary conservator. The primary conservator, among other things, can determine the primary residence of your children. This means that the children will live with that parent during the school year. This is among the most sought-after designations in a family law case. It would not be surprising to learn that you find this should be among the most important goals to achieve in your particular child custody or divorce case.

Simply being in a position to determine the primary residence of your kids means that the children are going to be able to spend more time with you than with their other parents. We will go into detail about visitation opportunities for your Co-parent. Still, simply because the school year takes up most of the calendar when your kids spend time with you, they more often than not will be doing so due to the school year being in session. This can be a little misleading for some primary parents as a lot of the time you spend with your children will be getting them ready for school and helping them calm down after a day at school as well.

On the other hand, if you are not named your child's primary conservator, you will likely be assigned visitation and possession on a scheduled basis with your children. One of the most jarring aspects of that entire discussion is that it can be difficult for many parents to adjust to a life where they can only see their children on a pre-set schedule. On the other hand, some of you parents reading this blog post may have the opposite perspective because you have been denied time with your children by your co-parent on many previous occasions. As a result, a parenting schedule may be something that appeals to you.

The reality for your family and thousands of others after their family cases is that you will need to become accustomed to sharing custody with your co-parent based on the terms of a court order. Whatever your opinion is about this kind of arrangement, you will need to develop a rhythm with your children to help them develop some consistency and stability with seeing both you and your co-parent in this way. Many parents never take the time to learn the details of their court order, and as a result, you would be placing the time that you have your kids in jeopardy.

The essence of joint custody means sharing.

If you are in a joint custody situation with your children and co-parent, that means that you and your co-parent will be sharing time with your children a great deal. That would be by design. The state of Texas wants you and your co-parent to be able to both take an active role in raising your kids. Joint custody is the most efficient way for the courts to ensure that this happens. You are not only sharing time with your kids, but you will be sharing decision-making responsibilities with your Co-parent as well. That's not even to mention the sharing of duties associated with raising your children.

The standard possession order is the most typical way for joint managing conservators to share time with their kids. While you may not be the primary Conservatory for children, you will have the right to be able to be in possession and visit with your children. These times will come at predetermined lengths and predetermined intervals based on your particular court order. Many visitation schedules are based almost entirely on a standard possession order. A standard possession order can be found in the Texas family code if you are curious. The hallmark of a standard possession order is that you would have possession of your children on the first, 3rd, and 5th weekends of each month. When you are not in the school year, you and your Co-parent will alternate holidays depending upon the year.

Many parents have asked me what percentage of the year you would have your children if you had a standard possession order. I have never sat down and done the math to decide about exactly how much time you will have with your children under the standard possession order, but my gut tells me that it is somewhere around 45% of the year you would have your children as opposed to 55% of the year for your Co-parent to have them. While this may not be a purely even split in custody time, the fact is that this is a more even distribution of time than many parents would expect.

This is especially true for Texas fathers. From my experience, many Texas fathers expect to see their children still only when their child's mother allows them to, even after a family law case. Many fathers like this are used to seeing their kids only for concise periods and on the mother's schedule. You, as a father, may have even found yourself in a position like this and may expect similar results in your case. Fortunately for you, I can tell you that it is not your child's mother who determines when you can see your child. You have the right to see your kids that do not start and stop with your child's mother.

Sharing custody means that you all will have to figure out how to coordinate the dropping off and pick up your child before and after each of your periods of possession. For the most part, your child custody orders should reflect how you all have agreed to perform this ritual. Every family is slightly different, but typically, the nonpossessory parent will perform the lion's share of the dropping off in the picking up. However, your circumstances may dictate that another method be used. Whatever method you chose, you need to be clear about it and referred to it within your final orders. The last thing you want is to embark upon your post-family law case life without clear instructions.

Next, sharing custody with your Co-parent means that you need to communicate with them for a period. I realize that this may be easier said than done. One of the reasons you may no longer be married to or in a relationship with your Co-parent is a lack of trust or problems with communication. This may be a poor backdrop to be able to encourage communication with custody issues. However, I cannot emphasize highly enough just how critical it is for your success and your child's success to communicate well with one another. An inability to communicate with one another means that you are harming your relationship and harming both of you to parent effectively.

When I think of the word joint, I also think of the word together. Joint custody means that you will have custody together with your Co-parent. That does not mean that you will R having the same thing separately and at different times; you share the same thing and use your communication skills to help better your child's life. There is no doubt that you may have concerns about a near child and their ability to flourish in a shared custody situation. However, joint custody gives your child the chance to make something out of a bad situation.

What about problems if they arise in the future?

If your family is anything like mine, then you will probably agree that changes can come fast, infrequent for your family, just as they do for mine. In those cases, it is hard to plan for five minutes into the future, sometimes not to mention five years period; how then can your family be expected to live under a court order that is sometimes multiple years old? If the circumstances of your family have greatly changed since the time that order was created, is there anything that you can do to update the order to reflect more accurately the circumstances of your current life?

The answer to that question is yes. Either you or your Co-parent can file a 4IN modification case in the future if some aspect of your court orders becomes untenable due to those changing circumstances. Specifically, a family court would look to whether or not material in substantial change has occurred in the life of you, your Co-parent, or your child to justify creating a modification in the new court order. A modification lawsuit allows you all to consider that those change circumstances in hopes of providing for an order based on the best interest of your child.

Modification lawsuits are thought to be more difficult to become successful just because family judges are typically in favor of maintaining the status quo rather than abandoning the life of your child unless they absolutely must. Think about it this way: your child's life will have already been appended at least once before during the family law case. The family court judge will not want to create more changes unless the modification requested is justified and in your child's best interest. Otherwise, informal modifications may have to be reached with your Co-parent to accommodate any desired changes.

As with anything else in the world of family law, you and your Co-parent need to be older rock yourselves through these important topics. Having involved family law attorneys can help to communicate important topics to you and help you to learn more about this subject and others regarding joint custody. You can begin this learning process by seeking out conscientious and diligent attorneys here in Southeast Texas.

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

Categories

Let's Get Started Together

Fill out the form below 
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.