Both the mother and father have equal child custody rights in Texas. However, that does not mean both parents will get a similar outcome during divorce or separation.
Texas has three long-term custody arrangements. See below for more about the reasons for each and what you might expect in an upcoming custody case.
1. Split custody
Split custody is probably the rarest arrangement. In this situation, the parents have multiple children. Both parents receive full custody over one or more kids, splitting the custody arrangement. This is not an ideal situation in most cases; however, according to Texas Family Code Sec. 153.009, the child’s preference does factor into the decision, especially if they are at least 12 years old.
2. Joint custody
Joint custody means the parents have an equal say in the child’s upbringing. This does not mean the child spends equal time with each parent. Joint legal custody means the child has one primary residence, with the other parent having an equal share in parenting decisions. Shared physical custody means the child has two homes. Remember that joint custody becomes a less likely option if you have a hard time agreeing with your ex-spouse on parenting.
3. Sole custody
Sole custody is less common than in years passed. This arrangement gives one parent complete legal and physical custody, with visitation rights potentially available for the other parent. Sole custody becomes necessary if the other parent is dangerous to the child’s well-being, if the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan or if one parent is absent or unreliable. Custody arrangements generally try to settle on joint custody if possible.
Sometimes, the custody arrangement you want is not what is best for your child’s upbringing. Work with your ex-spouse to give your child the best chance of success.