Texas divorce law does not use the term, “custody.” Instead, the arrangements for caring for children of divorcing parents are broken into three categories:
- Conservatorship: How decisions affecting the children will be made
- Periods of Possession: The schedule of time a child will spend with each parent
- Child Support: How the child’s financial needs will be met
Texas divorce law presumes that parents should be named as “joint managing conservators,” which means that parents jointly share the right to make some decisions about their children, and neither parent can make these decisions without the agreement of the other parent.
Texas has Child Support Guidelines that set an amount that is presumed to be paid by one parent to the other and a Standard Possession Order that sets out a schedule for visitation that is presumed to be in the best interest of children. Parents can agree to arrangements for their children that differ from the statutory guidelines. Read more about Developing a Parenting Plan.
While Texas law does provide standards and guidelines, these are arbitrary standards that fit perfectly for almost no one. Divorcing couples in Texas are free to make their own agreements that fit their family. Our Negotiated Divorce streamlined process will help you and your spouse make agreements about how to care for your children after divorce.
Divorce From Your Spouse, Not Your Children
When one parent has custody of the child, the other parent often feels powerless and removed from the situation altogether. It can be a painful adjustment — for both parents and children.
How to Help Your Children Make Changes With Divorce
Helping children adjust to anything – divorce or otherwise – can be a daunting task. At any age, boys and girls of any age may feel uncertain or angry at the prospect of the two people who they love the most splitting up.
As a parent, you can make the process and its effects less painful for your children. Helping your children – of any age – cope with divorce means providing stability in your home and attending to your children’s needs with a reassuring, yet positive attitude. It won’t be a seamless process, but these tips can help your children cope:
- If you can, tell your child together when the decision is made
- Work out immediate issues beforehand if at all possible
- Anticipate questions your child may have
- Expect an adjustment period
- Don’t argue in front of the child or use him or her as a messenger
- Avoid placing restrictions on what your child can say
- Encourage the involvement of both parents
- Pre-plan holidays and vacation schedules
- Minimize changes
- Encourage your child to express his or her feelings
- Be consistent with discipline
- Don’t overcompensate for the divorce
Don’t let either parent fade out of your child’s life.
Some parents avoid the responsibility of parenthood altogether, but mostly absent parent behavior stems from resenting the label of “visitor” rather than the parent. While one parent has no responsibility — and often plenty of free time — the other parent feels all of the responsibility and has no free time. This creates more tension in an already strained relationship, and a difficult dynamic once again.
When this happens, the custodial parent often begins to distrust the other parent. He or she may not encourage involvement with the children, regardless of what the divorce agreement says.
This is not the proper approach. The last thing that your children need is a parent slowly fading out of the picture. Whether temporary or long-term, this type of conduct and absence can be detrimental to the children.
How to solidify a co-parenting relationship with an ex-spouse
Both parents should empower the other to be active and active participants in the children’s’ lives. Set aside your anger. If you disagree with a former spouse’s habits or parenting style, keeping your children away from the parent is not the right thing to do.