If you see divorce in your immediate future, your priority is likely to protect your children and your relationship with them. It’s normal for loving parents to worry about what divorce might mean for their children and the relationship they share.
Horror stories about the outcome of custody proceedings might make you think that the courts could completely cut off access to your children. You may have even decided to wait to file for divorce because you don’t want to lose a potential custody battle.
If you understand a little better how the Texas family courts approach custody in a divorce, you will likely feel more comfortable moving forward with your filing.
Shared custody is usually the starting point for court decisions
When a judge makes a decision about custody, the first thing they need to consider is the best interests of the children. Psychological research has made it clear that in healthy families, parenting time for both parents is crucial to development for the children.
The courts will default to a presumption of shared custody unless one parent doesn’t want shared custody or the other has compelling reasons to ask for sole custody, like abuse or addiction issues.
There is a strong relationship between custody and support requirements
Parents have obligations to their children under Texas law. Those obligations include providing the necessities of life like shelter, clothing and food. When you have parenting time with your children, you provide those needs for them. When they are with your ex, they will be the one to cover those expenses and manage those means.
If there is a significant discrepancy in the division of parenting time, the parent who has less time with the children will likely pay support to the parent who has more parenting time.
You can always update your custody order when the situation changes
Some people think of court orders as something permanent and impossible to change. However, Texas allows parents to change the custody order by asking for a modification hearing. When your family situation changes, you can request that the custody order changes to reflect your new needs.
Anyone divorcing with children still at home will want to carefully plan for divorce before they take any action. Minimizing disruption for the children can make divorce easier for the whole family.