When two parents go through a divorce, one of the most difficult and occasionally contentious parts is negotiating a fair parenting schedule that meets the needs of their children. As a result, child custody cases can often bring a lot of stress and worry. Fortunately, when you hire a Missouri City child custody lawyer from our firm you do not have to go through this challenging process alone. Our family attorneys are dedicated to protecting the best interests of your child and your rights as a parent.

How is Child Custody Determined?

When determining custody, courts decide where the children will live and who will have a say in how the child is raised. Physical custody determines where a child will live and is typically shared between two parents, barring any potential for abuse from one party. Legal custody identifies which parent is allowed to make important decision concerning the child’s upbringing. When parents share legal custody, they must work together to make decisions, such as where their child will attend school and what kinds of medical care they may receive. Many factors influence a parenting schedule, but the primary principle is that the decision must be in the children’s best interests. When determining the best interests of the child, a court may review:

  • The child’s emotional well-being
  • The child’s physical needs
  • The child’s age
  • The health and finances of the parents
  • The child’s wishes if they are older
  • Any abuse or neglect related to either parent

The court cannot offer preference to one parent based on sex or marital status. A parent negotiating child custody should contact a Missouri City attorney from our firm to help protect their family’s best interests.

Developing a Custody Agreement

Custody agreements include detailed information about how the co-parents will interact and care for their children once they are no longer together. One of the most important factors is the parenting schedule. Parents may negotiate many different schedules depending on factors, including whether one parent lives closer to the child’s school, each parent’s work obligations, and their child’s daily routine.

Creating a custody agreement can be difficult if the parents strongly disagree about where the children should spend their time. Courts prefer schedules that allow both parents significant time with their children. However, the appropriate schedule may be different depending on the facts involved in the case.

It is important to note that the child support payments amount can factor into custody arrangements as well. For instance, a parent with more time caring for their child may receive greater amounts of support. A Missouri City attorney could work with a parent to advocate for their preferred custody arrangement that supports their child’s best interests.

Factors to Consider When Negotiating a Parenting Plan

When negotiating a custody agreement, the more details that are included and discussed the more likely that the plan will work in practice. Therefore, in addition to the regular schedule, parents should consider factors such as holiday arrangements and vacations. In some schedules, parents may alternate years with the children for certain holidays and birthdays. The agreement must include details regarding pick up and drop off times for these special events as well as typical trade off days.

The custody arrangement may also include information about extracurricular activities. Parents may need to work out which party is responsible for scheduling, paying for, and transporting children to and from their sports, music lessons, and other activities. Additionally, co-parents may need to specify the forms of communicating important information such as scheduled doctor and dentist appointments. A Missouri City lawyer could help a parent negotiate the terms within a child custody agreement while protecting their time with their child.

Contact a Missouri City Child Custody Attorney

Negotiating child custody can be complicated and emotional. Fortunately, parents like you can work with legal professionals to find an arrangement that work for your family.

A Missouri City child custody lawyer from our firm could evaluate your case and advocate on your behalf. We pride ourselves on being a family law firm that puts the needs of client’s children first. We want to help find a solution to your custody problems and protect your child in the process.