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Family law: Child custody options for divorcing Texas parents

The circumstances of each Texas family are unique. The family law section of the American Bar Association says ideal child custody arrangements must be based on the dynamics of each family, with the focus on the best interests of the child. Family courts allow parents to negotiate arrangements to suit their circumstances, and a variety of options is available. Failure to reach mutual agreements will require the judge to order a court-established custody scheme. Child custody involves both legal and residential custody.

Parents can share legal custody, or one parent can have sole legal custody. This determines who will make important life decisions for the child, such as matters involving education, health care and religion. Ideally, legal custody should be shared, but in a case in which one parent is incapable because of incarceration, illness, substance dependency or another reason, the other parent will have sole legal custody and be responsible for making major decisions.

Residential custody works in a similar manner. The circumstances of the parents will determine whether shared residential custody is workable -- depending on matters such as location and proximity. Again, if one parent is incapable of providing a suitable home for a child, the other parent will have sole residential custody, with visitation rights for the other.

Parents can decide whether they want to have the child move between the homes of the parents, or whether the child will live in one home with the parents taking turns to spend time at that residence. This method is called bird nesting. Divorcing parents in Texas who find the prospect of working out child custody arrangements overwhelming may find comfort in knowing that an experienced family law attorney can provide the necessary support and guidance throughout the process.

Source: livestrong.com, "The Best Custody Arrangements for Children", Mike Broemmel, Accessed on Jan. 27, 2017

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