For Texas parents who are going through a divorce, there are a number of common ideas about child custody and shared parenting that can actually undermine efforts to develop a positive plan. Indeed, decisions about custody and parenting time are generally made according to a standard of the best interests of the child, which correctly prioritizes the most important issues but can be interpreted differently by judges, lawyers and parents.
In general, research indicates that the best outcomes for children are found when parents practice shared parenting, in which both parents share physical custody of the children. The preference does not apply, of course, in cases where one parent has a history of abuse or neglect. Despite the strong scientific evidence backing up shared parenting, some parents are skeptical. For example, many believe that children want to live with one parent and that sharing custody time is a hassle for kids. However, adult children report much higher feelings of happiness from a close relationship with both parents that far outweighs the annoyance of switching homes.
Some people know that shared parenting is valuable for older kids, but think that babies need one primary figure of attachment and that overnights for babies with another parent can be confusing. While breastfeeding can complicate shared parenting for babies, research shows that babies can benefit from strong, regular shared parenting time with both of their parents.
Parents who are ending a relationship are often more concerned about physical custody than any other legal matters. Whether a relationship is ending amicably or in a higher-conflict situation, working with a family law attorney can help to develop a clear custody schedule and parenting plan that prioritizes the needs of the children.