Spouses who are going through divorce and have shared children together, may eventually have to talk about child custody matters. This topic can become heated very quickly, especially if the parents do not agree on where the children are to go after the divorce is finalized. One parent may want to move away with the children, while the other believes the children should not have to go through a move at all. Here in the article to follow, we have talked further about battling child custody with a child custody lawyer Collin County, TX relies on at the Scroggins Law Group in the midst of divorce.
The Types of Child Custody
The process behind deciding which parent gets custody can be very complicated. If the parents are not able to decide upon a child custody agreement together or through mediation, then the family court system may have the final say. There are four kinds of child custody a parent may be awarded:
- Primary Legal Custody = the right of one parent to make choices for the children’s upbringing, such as medical care, schooling, religion, etc. With this arrangement, the other parent has no legal say in such matters.
- Joint Legal Custody = the right of both parents to share the duty of making decisions about their children’s wellbeing and future.
- Primary Physical Custody = the right of one parent to permanently live with the children, while the other parent may or may not have visitation rights. Living in one home can be less stressful for the children, who will not have to go back and forth between two places.
- Joint Physical Custody = the right of both parents to share physical custody, where substantial time with their children is fairly divided.
Violation of Visitation Rights
If the custodial parent fears harm from the other parent, he or she may be able to refuse a scheduled visit. Those who feel threatened by their former spouse, may want to notify law enforcement and talk to their attorney about what to do next. If the non-custodial parent violates his or her visitation rights, there can be very serious repercussions. If the violations to not cease, the non-custodial parent may face contempt of court.
Child Custody Considerations
If the soon to be former spouses cannot agree on the terms of child custody, a judge in family court may have to settle the dispute instead. When judges have to make decisions about custody and visitation, they usually take into consideration what would be in the best interest of the children. Some key factors of these decisions are listed here:
- A parent’s living situation, including distance to school and opportunity for children to participate in activities with friends
- A parent’s level of willingness to cooperate with the other spouse when it comes to caring for their children
- The children’s preferences about who they would rather live with (typically only if they are of an age in which this choice can be reasonably made)
- Whether a parent was responsible for incidents of abuse, neglect, substance abuse, or domestic violence during the marriage
- A parent’s level of financial stability and being able to provide a healthy environment in which the children can grow
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*Mark L. Scroggins is *board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Unless otherwise noted, other attorneys are not *board-certified.
**Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service, awarded to Mark Scroggins 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)
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