Parenting can be daunting task, especially when serious decisions must be made that will have a significant impact on a child’s well-being. If a Texas parent files for divorce, there will be child custody issues to resolve. The term “custody” not only refers to where a child will live after his or her parents settle a divorce, but also, which parent will have the authority to make decisions on his or her behalf.
Where a child lives after a divorce is known as “physical” custody. Decision-making authority, however, refers to “legal” custody. It is possible for a parent to have sole physical and legal custody of a son or daughter. In cases where a family court judge grants sole custody to one parent over the other, it is not uncommon for there to be extenuating issues, such as parental substance abuse or child neglect.
It is also possible for one parent to have primary physical custody while sharing legal custody with a co-parent. In such cases, both parents must consult on any important decisions regarding health, education, faith or other life issues as they pertain to the child or children in question. For instance, if a parent wants to enroll a son or daughter who is a public-school student in private school, the other parent must agree to the decision if there is shared legal custody order in place; failing an agreement, the issue can be presented to the court for final decision. Children typically fare best in post-divorce situations when their parents are willing to cooperate and compromise as needed for their sake.
A Texas family court judge may make child custody decisions at his or her discretion. If a parent requests sole legal custody of a child, the judge will want that parent to explain and document his or her reasons for the request. Such a parent would also be tasked with providing evidence to the court if he or she has accused the other parent of being unfit to make decisions on the child in question’s behalf.