Filing for divorce is the first step to a happier, more independent future. You wouldn’t take that step unless you were no longer happy about the way that you and your spouse relate to one another.
Wanting to leave a relationship that didn’t work in the past is a normal instinct, but it is one that you may have to suppress if you share children with your spouse. No matter how much you want a clean break, if you have kids, the potential exists for shared custody arrangements that will force you to interact frequently.
Co-parenting means splitting or sharing everything from holidays to summer vacation with your ex. How likely is it that the Texas family courts will order you to share custody with your ex if you divorce?
The Texas Courts typically assume parents will share custody
Keeping both parents actively involved in a child’s life can make a divorce less traumatic for that child. The Texas family legal code recognizes the importance of having both parents present in a child’s developmental years.
To help support parental relationships, there is a presumption of shared custody in divorces. In other words, unless you actively push for a different outcome, the courts will split parenting time between you and your ex.
When could you ask the courts to give you sole custody?
Although shared custody is the standard now in a Texas divorce, that doesn’t mean it is always the best solution. State law is clear about the fact that the courts need to prioritize the best interests of the children over the claims and wishes of the parents if the two are at odds.
If a parent who poses a threat of harm to the children asks for custody, the court may refuse their request in order to protect the children. One parent can get sole custody if the other is not capable of caring for the children. However, establishing that the other parent poses a threat typically requires evidence of abuse, neglect or possibly health issues that stop someone from meeting a child’s basic needs.
Whether you hope to fight for sole custody or want to push for favorable terms in a shared custody parenting plan, keeping the focus on the children can reduce the stress they feel during these big changes.