If you have children, you’re likely concerned about their wellbeing throughout your divorce process. One common question people ask is whether or not they have to share custody with their spouse. As with many questions surrounding a divorce, there is no easy answer when it comes to child custody, and having the right legal assistance and guidance can help. 


Shared Custody vs. Sole Custody

Child custody (called conservatorship under Texas law) comes down to one main principle – what is in the best interest of the child. While sole custody is not impossible, most times, the court will determine it is in the best interest of the child to have both parents play at least some role in their life.


Factors that increase the likelihood of obtaining sole custody include:


  1. If the other parent abandoned the child;
  2. If the other parent used or is using a controlled substance in a manner that endangers the health and safety of the child;
  3. If the other parent has been convicted of certain crimes; or
  4. If the other parent has engaged in conduct that engendered the child’s wellbeing.


For most couples, sole custody is not a likely outcome, but there are many different ways of sharing custody of your child with your former spouse. An experienced child custody attorney can help you determine the arrangement that is best for you and your child.


Joint Conservatorship: Primary Joint Managing Conservator vs. Joint Managing Conservator

 The Texas Family Code refers to custody as “conservatorship.” Joint conservatorship deals with two types of conservators. One parent will be the primary joint managing conservator, and the other parent will be the joint managing conservator.


The biggest distinction between the two is that the primary joining managing conservator is considered the child’s primary residence.


Parenting Plans

Just because you and your spouse have joint conservatorship does not mean that you have to split the possession 50/50. Texas allows parents to establish a parenting plan so long as the court agrees that the plan is in the best interests of the child. 


The Texas Family Code details the Standard Possession Order (SPO), which is used frequently by divorcing parents. The SPO is an order in which one parent takes the child the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend plus Thursday night and some holidays. For some parents, due to factors like schedules or location, this schedule doesn’t work.


Other common parenting plans include:


  1. Alternating weeks;
  2. School year vs. Summer months; or
  3. Week vs. weekend.


A parenting plan doesn’t just include how frequently the child is with each parent. Most parenting plans also include:


  1. Specific holiday schedules;
  2. Logistics for drop-offs and pick-ups;
  3. Visitation for extended family;
  4. How costs for the child will be split; or
  5. Who makes the final decisions in the event of a disagreement between the parents.


Addressing these factors upfront helps to avoid unnecessary stress down the line.

Call a Sugar Land Child Custody Lawyer

Child custody can be complicated and stressful. Jamie Jordan, PLLC, is here to help you get the best outcome for your child. Contact us today for a free consultation.