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Parenting plans in a Texas divorce

If you have children, discussion of your respective responsibilities towards them will take center stage during your divorce. In Texas, a parenting plan sets forth the ways in which the divorcing spouses intend to handle major issues related to the children's wellbeing.

Parents may choose to negotiate their own parenting plan and submit it to the court, which will generally approve it unless there are indications that it is not in the best interest of the child. If the parents cannot agree, the court may issue its own parenting plan.

Negotiating a plan

In the midst of divorce, which often involves intense negative emotions, parents may have difficulty calmly negotiating and agreeing on a plan. However, negotiating does have benefits, as it allows parents to create custom solutions suitable to their individual circumstances. Parents with nonstandard work schedules, such as members of the military, may want to come up with a unique plan for their situation. Parents who want to work out a plan but have trouble communicating may consider mediation, which can help them resolve their issues.

Court-issued plans

When parents fail to agree, the court will issue a plan. Generally, judges can rely on input from the parents. They may also take into account the preferences of the children or ask for expert opinions from professionals such as child psychologists. The judge then makes a decision based on the best interests of the children.

Elements of a parenting plan

Whether court-issued or based upon the parents' agreement, parenting plans generally cover several major topics. These include visitation schedules or shared parenting time, modes and times of pickup, methods and timelines for communicating changes in plans, strategies for sharing important information, the children's education, extracurriculars, religious observance, methods of resolving parenting disagreement and the children's medical care. Parents may also include any additional issues that are important to them.

It is important to prioritize the wellbeing of the children while handling issues such as the parenting plan and custody negotiations. A qualified family law attorney can advise you as to the best course of action for you and your children.

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Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC
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San Antonio, TX 78205

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