Navigating child custody proceedings in a Texas court can be stressful. Once the decision to file for divorce is made, parents must resolve numerous issues regarding their children’s well-being. There are several types of custody, and determining a best course of action can be challenging, especially if one spouse opposes the other’s plan.

Understanding the difference between physical and legal child custody is important. There are several factors to consider when deciding which type of custody best fits a particular circumstance. While physical custody refers to where children reside after the divorce, legal custody pertains to the authority to make decisions on behalf of them.

The court typically believes that children fare best in shared custody situations. However, if a concerned parent provides evidence that shows a co-parent would be placing children at risk if he or she were to have custody, the court may be inclined to rule otherwise. Some situations are best when one parent has sole custody and the other has designated parenting time. Other situations call for joint custody and shared parenting time. Whatever is decided, child custody orders are always subject to modification upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances.

Sole child custody can help a concerned Texas parent protect children if their co-parent has a substance abuse problem or is physically or emotionally abusive to the children. Any parent who has questions about custody laws in this state, or who seeks guidance about a specific divorce issue, may request a meeting with an experienced family law attorney. Such an attorney can help protect a parent’s rights, as well as make sure children’s best interests are a central focus of all proceedings.