Joint Custody Work Explained

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Joint Custody Work ExplainedIf you’re going through child custody proceedings in Texas, you might feel overwhelmed with questions and uncertainties. How does joint custody work in everyday life? How do you make it work for your family? What if the other parent doesn’t pull their weight or follow the child custody order?

At BB Law Group PLLC, we know you want what’s best for your children and to settle your custody issue as quickly as possible. Our child custody attorneys in The Woodlands, TX, can represent you in custody proceedings and help you work toward an arrangement that meets your children’s needs. This blog will take you through the basics of Texas’s child custody laws and outline how joint custody works in daily life.

The Basics of Joint Custody in Texas

While other states use terms like “custody” or “guardianship” when describing a parent’s legal authority to make critical decisions for their child, Texas law uses the term “conservatorship.” Two married parents share legal authority to make child-rearing decisions, an arrangement that state law calls a “Joint Managing Conservatorship.”

Texas law states that it’s public policy for two divorced parents to share conservatorship of their minor children after a divorce when possible. That said, state law also says judges must consider the child’s best interests when making custody decisions.

To obtain sole conservatorship, a parent must demonstrate that the other parent is unfit to make vital decisions for the child or that it’s dangerous for the child to spend time with the other parent. Typically, meeting this standard requires the parent requesting sole conservatorship to show that the other parent has a history of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence.

A judge will issue the final court order in a custody dispute, but judges prefer if parents can agree on a custody arrangement without an ugly, prolonged courtroom battle. Parents who disagree on custody matters might attend mediation to see if they can resolve their differences. If mediation and other alternative dispute methods fail, the judge overseeing the case will make the final decision. A judge must also approve any custody plan the parents agree to themselves.

How Joint Custody Works in Daily Life

Even when parents share custody of a child following a divorce, it’s often not practical for the child to split time equally with each parent. This arrangement is usually too disruptive to the child’s daily life to work. Instead, one parent typically has primary physical custody of the child, and the parents agree on a prearranged schedule for spending time with the child. This may involve the child spending weekends with the other parent, rotating holidays, or whatever other arrangement works for both parents and the child.

While the child usually spends most of the time with one parent in a joint conservatorship arrangement, both parents retain legal authority to make critical decisions for their child. This includes the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s education, health care, religious upbringing (if any), and so on. If the parents disagree on these vital issues and can’t reach a compromise on their own, they can take the issue to the courts, where a judge will decide the matter.

What Happens If the Custodial Parent Doesn’t Show Up in Court?

Life sometimes gets in the way of legal proceedings, and bad things often happen at inconvenient times. Furthermore, it can be difficult for some parents to get time off work to attend a court hearing.

However, it’s a bad look when a custodial parent doesn’t attend court proceedings. At a minimum, they should send their attorney to represent them so the judge knows they take the matter seriously. If a custodial parent fails to show up in court and doesn’t send an attorney, the judge might change the custody arrangement, award custody to the other parent, or take other measures.

How to Get Joint Custody Without Going to Court

Joint Custody Work ExplainedPractically speaking, you can’t get joint custody without a few courtroom appearances. Even if you and your former spouse agree on a custody arrangement, a judge must approve it.

However, you can avoid a prolonged court battle by presenting a thorough parenting agreement to the judge, thus avoiding contentious court hearings. Furthermore, you do not have to attend all child custody hearings yourself. An attorney can represent you in most instances and protect your interests. If there is a hearing you must attend, your attorney can inform you beforehand, giving you time to prepare.

Need a Custody Lawyer in The Woodlands, TX? BB Law Group PLLC Can Help

Child issues in Texas are complicated, and you need an attorney’s help to understand your rights and protect your interests. The child custody lawyers at BB Law Group PLLC can guide you through the process and help you work toward an outcome that meets your child’s needs. Contact us today at (832) 534-2589 for a consultation.