When couples of different religious faiths divorce, the decision about in which faith to raise the children may become a point of contention. Even parents who attend services only on major religious holidays and who haven't spent much time passing their faith and its traditions down to their children can suddenly become extremely concerned about their children's religion in divorce. Often, parents who aren't getting primary custody of their kids begin to fear that their kids will grow up solely in their custodial parent's faith.
Your co-parent has been out of your children's lives for some time and now is seeking to renew contact with them. Maybe they moved a long distance away after the divorce and are now relocating back to Austin. Perhaps they weren't allowed to see the kids because of substance abuse or mental health issues, but have sought and been awarded visitation or shared custody. Maybe they've been incarcerated and are now being released.
As part of your custody agreement that designates how you and your co-parent will share custody of your children, it's important to draw up a parenting plan. This plan will provide more detail about how the two of you will deal with various parenting issues as your children grow up.
If you and your co-parent are in the process of working out your child custody agreement, you're likely determining how the kids will be dividing their time or spending alternate years with each of you around major holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving as well as during spring and vacations. However, there are a lot of other times during the school year where your kids will have a half-day or full day off that you might not be considering.
Among the most crucial details to work out as you and your co-parent negotiate your custody agreement is how to handle the exchanges of your children. If you will continue to live near each other and share custody, these exchanges may be frequent.
If you'll be sharing custody of your children with your co-parent, you likely want every additional opportunity to spend time with them that you can get -- especially if you're going to be the noncustodial parent. If so, or even if you just want to minimize the amount of time your kids spend with other caregivers, you should consider seeking a "right of first refusal" provision in your custody agreement.
Not all co-parents' battles involve yelling, swearing, insults and turning the kids against their other parent. Passive-aggressive behavior, however, can be just as damaging to the co-parenting relationship -- and ultimately to your kids -- as regular fighting.
In a divorce, the most important thing is the well-being of your kids. You love them more than anything in the world, and all you want is a fair custody settlement. But how can you make sure that a judge will see it that way?
Nothing can test divorced parents' resolve to push their differences to the back burner and focus on what's best for their kids like the holidays. It's best if you've included details for the holidays in your custody agreement and parenting plan. This gives you a framework for how your children will divide their time. However, it's always helpful when both parents can be a bit flexible.
As you and your soon-to-be ex negotiate — or perhaps battle — over how to share custody of your children, you're probably focused primarily on physical custody. However, you also need to determine who will have legal custody over the children.