When Texas parents go through a divorce, ensuring the well-being of their young children is most likely a top priority. Not so long ago, the parents may have assumed that the mother would have custody of the children and the father would get visitation rights. However, social changes combined with a better understanding of the needs of children mean that parenting plans have changed over the years.
One of the primary changes has been to the idea that children are always better off living in one place, with one primary caretaker most of the time. Many child development specialists now believe that children generally benefit from having a strong relationship with both parents. This usually isn't possible when children spend most of their time with one parent, only seeing the other occasionally.
As a result, child custody agreements may go beyond even the notion of joint custody, and instead be a more flexible arrangement that takes several factors into consideration. These may include the changing needs of the children as they get older, as well as the circumstances of each parent. While such negotiations may be difficult, particularly during an emotionally charged divorce, the outcome for children may be worth the difficulty.
Parents who are going through a divorce may benefit from speaking with an experienced family law attorney. In some cases, attorneys can assist their clients in negotiating parenting plans instead of leaving the decision up to a judge. While the standard that courts are obligated to follow in child custody matters is the best interests of the child, parents will often be more satisfied with an agreement that they and their attorneys have been able to work out on their own.