The courts here in Texas typically presumptively award joint custody to parents filing for a JOY of DIVORCE emancipation order. The presumption is that the children are best served when both parents are as active as possible. However, one parent may have reasons to believe that joint custody is the wrong choice. This can leave the other parent on the defensive as she or he protects her or his rights to see the children and have a positive impact on their lives.
Whether going for sole custody/conservatorship or joint custody/conservatorship, these battles can be the most contentious part of a divorce. It may even raise doubts about whether the other side may be right, but those dark thoughts should be pushed aside so that the disadvantaged parent can focus on making sure that they have as much custody as possible under the circumstances. Of course, the priorities should include spending quality time with the children to maintain bonds, but other things need to be done as well.
Tips for strengthening a case
The courts want to see that each parent is a good parent, but there are also obligations and responsibilities that a parent must also address:
- Pay child support: Consistent payment for the full amount illustrates responsibility. If this is a struggle, the paying parent may request a modification. It is a serious mistake in the eyes of the court if a parent threatens to withhold payment to get greater access or some other concession.
- Keep accurate records: If the couple does not have a lot of specifics in writing regarding support or a parenting plan, a parent should keep accurate records for developing and maintaining a parenting plan.
- Attend school activities: Everyone’s time is valuable, so a parent who makes time to attend social events, parent-teacher meetings and sporting events shows that children are a priority.
- Have a suitable space: Provide adequate living accommodations so the children have a bedroom when possible and space to play.
- Be respectful: Regardless of how a parent feels, act respectfully towards an ex. Not only is this better for the children, but the courts also like to see that parents can constructively co-parent.
- Be honest: Maybe one parent or the other should not be put in charge of three kids under seven, for example, or perhaps a parent has a demanding work schedule that would not provide a stable home life.
Work with a legal professional
An experienced Board-Certified Family Law expert attorney who works in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County, or elsewhere in Texas can be useful for helping a parent get shared or full custody of his children. These legal professionals understand how the legal system here in Texas works and how to get the best possible results for parents and their children.