If you are going through a divorce, figuring out child custody arrangements with your ex may be at the top of your priority list. There are generally two types of custody: physical custody and legal custody.
When a parent has sole physical custody of a child, the child lives with them on a day-to-day basis. The parent with physical custody is typically responsible for getting the child ready to go to school, taking them to school and extra-curricular activities, helping with homework, cooking dinner, and putting them to bed at night. The parent who does not have physical custody will have visitation rights and will pay child support to help provide for the child’s basic needs.
Legal custody refers to decision-making power when it comes to the child. A parent with legal custody will be able to make big decisions regarding the child’s religious upbringing, schooling, after-school activities, and medical care.
Texas courts generally prefer to award joint physical and legal child custody whenever possible. With joint legal custody, both parents will have an equal say when it comes to making decisions relating to the child. If one parent tries to take over the decision-making, the other parent could ask the judge to enforce the joint order.
Granting joint physical custody works best when both parents live relatively close to each other and are willing to work together for the sake of the child. In many cases, parents will switch off weeks or months with the child. Nowadays, divorced parents may move in and out of the family home, while the child stays put. This gives the child stability and allows them to have quality time with both parents without having to travel back and forth.
If you are not sure what child custody arrangement will work best for your family, a family law attorney in your area can review your case and advise you on what to do next.