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Is joint custody a possibility following divorce?

Getting divorced can understandably be difficult for both you and your future ex-spouse. However, it can also be challenging for the children to cope.

A major question that you might have as you navigate the divorce process with your children is who will get custody of them. In your situation, it may be best if you both can share custody of the children. Let us take a look at how joint custody works in Texas.

The basics of joint custody

When you are discussing joint custody, there are two forms to consider: physical and legal custody. If your goal is to have a 100 percent joint custody arrangement, then you and the other parent will share legal and physical custody rights. That means you both will play a role in making decisions concerning your children's upbringing. Also, your children will spend time with both of you evenly. As an example, your children could live with your ex this month and then stay with you the following month, and so on.

The challenge with joint physical and legal custody is that it can pose scheduling challenges, particularly if the parents do not live close to each other. In addition, it may be disruptive to your children's daily routine and thus cause unnecessary stress.

The most common arrangement: joint legal custody

If you are like many other divorcing parents, you may choose to share legal custody of the children with your ex instead of physical custody. That means you would both decide where the children will go to school and what religion they will adopt, for example. However, the children would live with just you or your ex, depending on your desired arrangement. The other party who does not have physical custody of the children would still visit with the children regularly to maintain a relationship with them.

Your rights when dealing with child custody

You and the other party might be able to draft a mutually satisfactory parenting agreement during informal negotiations or mediation, where you lay out how you will approach child custody following your divorce. This process is often less stressful than going to trial to have a judge make the final custody decision for you. Either way, an attorney will help you to pursue the outcome you desire while most importantly taking into consideration the best interests of the children.

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