Divorce changes many parts of parents' lives. It can include how they balance their work and home life. For some, it means that they start handling some after-school pick-ups and other activities. For others, it is a matter of returning to outside employment to better support themselves and provide for their family.
Parenting plans and child custody (referred to in Texas as conservatorship) agreements are supposed to address the best interests of the child. An essential part of this is determining a visitation schedule. While this is often complicated, it is even more so when the agreement dictates, or a judge orders supervised visitation of a parent which may result from a pattern or history of substance abuse or family violence allegations.
It is commonplace for local families to move from one home to another, either within Texas or outside the state. Common reasons include employment, divorce or being closer to grandparents or family. While some divorce agreements stipulate that the parents live in the same area, sometimes that becomes impossible, such as when military personnel is deployed or transferred.
People around the globe are in uncharted waters when it comes to dealing with COVID-19. While the virus is least dangerous to children, many parents are, of course, worried about protecting their children from contracting it. This issue can lead to questions about how to address parental obligations at a time when many are working from home, practicing social distancing, or staying in self-quarantine.
Each parent has their own approach to raising children. It may not be the same as the co-parent, but the two ideally work well enough together to provide a happy and healthy environment for the children. This is often even the case when couples choose to seek The JOY of Divorce, and the parenting plan involves the couple working closely together to raise the family after the divorce.
Grandparents can be caring figures who happily spoil their grandchildren. They can also be an important resource and presence as a “second” or “third” parental type figure who is involved in the day-to-day care of the children.
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.
Issues regarding parenting plans and child custody (also known as conservatorship) can be the most contentious part of negotiating a JOY of DIVORCE Emancipation agreement. The priority is to make decisions based on the best interests of the child, but the parents may not agree on what that means.
Families come in all shapes and sizes, so Texas has made changes to its laws to accommodate a broader definition of family units. No longer is it a given that the mother gets custody of the children after filing for divorce, nor do all parents need to marry to have legal rights. Because the circumstances involving each case may be different, a different approach is needed. Unmarried parents who wish to establish custody rights, visitation rights, child support, or even geographic restrictions will need to be proactive.
The opioid epidemic is a national health emergency that impacts individuals, families and municipalities. Nevertheless, researchers were still surprised when they found a new connection between areas with higher levels of opioid prescriptions and addiction and grandparents over 30 who are actively raising grandchildren. While Texas does not see the highest numbers of addiction, the state does rank in the top tier of 1.76% or higher number of grandparents responsible for their grandchildren. The national average is 1.38%.