One of the toughest aspects of divorce is working out a parenting plan. This plan sets forth, among other things, whether you or your spouse will live with your children and whether you will both make decisions about their lives. As you divorce, you may fear that you will receive the short end of the stick in these matters. But by understanding Texas’ laws, you can work to achieve your fair share of parental rights.
Understanding Texas’ laws
Above all else, Texas courts consider your children’s best interests when ruling on conservatorship. Unless you or your spouse argue otherwise, the court will likely presume joint managing conservatorship will benefit them. In this case, you and your spouse will share decision-making responsibilities for your children. Keep in mind that this is different than possessory conservatorship. Your children will likely live with one parent primarily – whether you or your spouse. The other parent, though, will receive fair possession time, barring extraordinary circumstances.
When determining your children’s best interests, the court will consider many factors. These may include:
- You and your spouse’s ability to communicate and cooperate
- You and your spouse’s role in your children’s upbringing during your marriage
- You and your spouse’s willingness to help your children foster a relationship with the other parent
- You and your spouse’s proximity to each other, your children’s school and their activities
- Whether you and your spouse can both provide a stable home environment for your children
You or your spouse may have requested that the court interview your children about their conservatorship preferences. The court, then, will do so if your children are at least 12 years old. In certain circumstances, it may do so, too, if they are younger. The court will also consider whether you or your spouse have a history of family violence, abuse or neglect. The presence of these behaviors could result in restricted or denied access to your children.
Fighting for fair conservatorship or possession can be difficult. By consulting an attorney with family law experience, you can work to protect your relationship with your children.