When parents are in the middle of the divorce process, or approaching it, it is often difficult to maintain clear perspectives. Even when parents want the best for their children and work together to keep the process civil, emotions can easily get in the way of strong, reasonable compromises.
When it comes to child custody and coparenting issues, compromise is crucial. Although courts prefer for parents to develop their own preferred custody and parenting agreements, the courts ultimately approve or deny any custody or parenting proposals. While many factors play into a court's decision, it is important to understand that the law values the best interests of the child above the preferences of the parents, in many instances.
If you and your child's other parent choose to divorce, or if you are already in the middle of the divorce process, it is wise to invest time and resources into creating a parenting plan that addresses potential conflicts in the future and establishes clear guidelines for how you plan to raise your child. Taking the time to create a strong plan not only shows the court that you take your role as parents seriously, but also helps ensure that your rights in Texas remain secure throughout the parenting journey.
Establishing expectations and boundaries
No two parenting agreements are exactly the same, just as no two families are the same. In order to create a strong framework for coparenting, it is important to establish clear expectations that both parents understand and support, as well as clear boundaries around unacceptable behavior.
A strong parenting agreement lays out the specifics of raising your child separately. This includes issues like where a child will live and how each parent shares parenting time and parenting responsibilities.
It is also important to reach a clear understanding of how parents will work together to resolve parenting conflicts when they arise. This is crucial to any parenting plan, because these conflicts are inevitable over time. The clearer the agreement is about resolving parenting conflicts, the less room for confusion if and when conflicts occur. This is particularly important where it concerns the child's education, medical care and participation in religious practice.
Restricting parenting time interference
In many cases, one or both parents may behave in ways that undermine the other's authority or prevent the other parent from enjoying their court-ordered custody and visitation time. In broad strokes, courts consider this behavior parenting time interference, and may punish offending parents with loss of privileges, mandatory make-up days for lost custody time or even criminal charges.
A strong parenting agreement identifies numerous areas where one parent may interfere with the other and lays out remedies for these violations. It is important for parents to develop these remedies together, so that both parties understand the consequences if they commit parenting time interference. For the sake of your rights as a parent and for the best interests of your child, be sure to make time to create a parenting agreement that truly meets your child's needs.