Texas Child Custody Agreement And What Parents Should Know

Ending a relationship with divorce can be worst for a couple but it can be even harder for the child who is there to make the relationship stronger. Any kind of separation that involves a child would lead to a custody fight and a subsequent child custody agreement.

Most of the times, parents mutually agree to chalk out a child custody agreement. Most commonly, the Texas child custody agreement would detail things such as child visits, living arrangements, and conditions, who would be the legal decision maker and meeting with friends and family. A child custody agreement in most cases is informal, and is part of an out of court settlement, keeping the best interests of the child in mind.

There is no doubt that in a divorce children are most affected. They not only get scarred emotionally, but they are psychologically jolted for life. In order for the child to be the least affected, parents should make a divorce as friendly as possible. This might not sound ideal but it is vital for the mental health of the child. During any agreement, the interests of the child should be held paramount. Everything in the agreement should be finalized by keeping the best interest of the child.

Before starting to give the agreement a shape, it is recommended for both parents to have a look at their individual child custody rights. These rights can be easily found on the internet or your lawyer would hand over them to you. Understanding these rights is extremely important before any child custody agreement is put in place. Most of the custody agreements are penned after several lengthy discussions between the parents and their respective lawyers. Custody agreements that are usually presented in the court are born after realistic and fair discussions.

A court keeps the best interest of the child at heart in any agreement. It judges what happens to the child after the parents are separated. The court sees the following points in an agreement keeping the child’s interest at heart.

  • Any sort of former history of abuse or violence involving the child
  • The age of the child and the medical condition or current health
  • School and community ties of the child
  • Emotional ties to any of the parent
  • The parents and their capacity to provide for the child financially
  • The social life of the parent
  • Finally, the choice of the child

During an agreement, the kinds of custody are also discussed. Physical custody and legal custody are two of the most common. The major types of agreements that can take place between the parents include joint custody, shared custody, and primary physical and split custody. During the agreement, the parents and the court can decide on which type of custody they want.

Parents find it often difficult to agree on any sort of child custody agreement. If and only if they keep the safety of the child in mind and make every effort to make the separation amicable, then reaching an agreement on child custody can be easy.

Texas Child Custody Guidelines for Unmarried Parents

One of the hardest things for parents to deal with in a custody battle is fear of the unknown.  Most people enter a custody dispute without having any experience in matters of family law.  This can make the entire process stressful for more reasons that are necessary.  To ease some of these anxieties, we have provided some basic custody guidelines that the courts use to make their decision.


Judges want to make sure that the custodial parent has plenty of time to properly nurture their child and promote their development.  They will take into account the nature of each parent’s career, as well as the average amount of hours, working in a typical week.  Business-related travel is another factor that will be measured against parental availability.

Prior Involvement

The previous behavior has always been utilized by the court system to predict future trends, and this applies to child custody as well.  The judge will be looking for a consistent pattern of involvement from potential custody candidates.  This includes evidence of participation in the child’s educational, social, physical development.

Positive Reinforcement

One of the keys to raising a healthy and well-rounded child is maintaining a positive environment for that child to grow within.  This encompasses things like supporting the decisions of the other parent, eliminating outside distractions, and supporting the interests of the child.  From a custody angle, this means that the ideal guardian would provide a situation free from negative influences and unnecessary stressors.

Strong Character

Because children are so heavily influenced by the environment that they grow up in, the court heavily scrutinizes the character of each parent.  Prior instances of substance use, prolonged unemployment, and infidelity can all be detrimental to a custody appeal.  The goal of a custody judge is to place the child with a parent who can teach leadership and responsibility by example.  Thus, the ideal candidate would display strong character attributes across the board.

These are just some of the guidelines that the court system uses in determining child custody cases.  There are other variables, such as finances, that play into the decision as well.  But the majority of the other factors are considered quantitative, meaning they can be supplemented by other methods like child support.  The primary considerations are given to how the parent promotes the child’s development.  This involves time spent with the child, creating a positive environment for the child, and serving as a role model by example.  Concentrating on these characteristics are the best things for custodial candidates to concentrate on.

Knowing what the judge is looking for and how to present your strengths is the best way to win child custody.

The Real Reason Divorce is So Difficult

One of my clients once wrote:

“I am going through a divorce. I pride myself on being objective, upbeat and very good at my job. However, since the divorce began, I often feel depressed and sometimes paralyzed. I feel like I am firing on only one cylinder and it is only a matter of time before my employer and my children realize I am not fully functional. Does everyone who is going through a divorce feel this way?”

The short answer: Yes.

Most people believe the most awful psychological experience anyone could have would be one’s own death or the death of a loved one. However, for many who are separating after a long-term relationship, the separation is actually “three” times worse, as follows:

End of a Relationship

First, the end of a long-term relationship is, quite literally, the end of life as my clients know it. It therefore provides the same or a substantially similar psychological experience as that of my clients’ own death, and thereby the ultimate loss.

Happily Ever After

Second, ever since we were small children, we were taught to believe in the romantic notion of “happily ever after” for our domestic relationship. The end of that relationship provides the extraordinarily rude awakening of discovering the “happily ever after” clause is not valid. My clients discover they were tricked and fooled during their entire lives into believing something which turns out to be a giant hoax, a cruel prank. My clients thereby experience the ultimate humiliation.

Trust Your Partner

Third, we were also taught we could trust our domestic partner more than we could trust anyone else in the world. When the relationship ends, my clients usually learn the persons they trusted most have turned against them and are using my clients’ most intimate secrets against them. My clients thereby experience the ultimate betrayal.

Separation Process

Therefore, the separation process often involves the most extreme and awful experiences of loss, humiliation, and betrayal. Unfortunately, this does not include the full inventory of potential damage. For example, the majority of divorces and separations which go to court are ugly. They involve almost unbearable stress, ugly conflict, major losses of time and money, compromised integrity, psychological health and collateral damage to the psychological health of the children. Therefore, the end of a long-term domestic relationship will often be the most awful situation someone will experience.


DISCLAIMER: The articles on this web site are intended to provide general information only and do not constitute legal or other professional advice for any purpose. The use of the Internet or of this web site for communication with the author of any such article, or with any professional or any other person associated with any firm of which the author is associated, does not establish an attorney-client relationship, mediator-client relationship, psychotherapist-patient relationship or any other professional relationship of any kind. These authors and all professionals and other persons associated with any firm of which these authors are associated DO NOT represent your legal or other interests and DO NOT have any duty to advise you about or to assist you with any time-sensitive information or issue. These authors and all professionals and other persons associated with any firm of which these authors are associated DO NOT have any duty to keep confidential the information you send through the Internet or through this web site. Therefore, you must not send confidential or time-sensitive information through the Internet or through this web site. If you submit an inquiry through the Internet or through this web site you may receive a response to your inquiry from an attorney or other professional. If so, that response will include no legal advice on which you can rely for any purpose. Rather, it will consist only of comments and suggestions based on family law rules of a general nature which may or may not apply to your case in specific.

Five questions parents typically ask in divorce

#1 – How will I survive not seeing my kids every day?

Yes, this is a tough transition but one that needs to happen now that you and your spouse have decided to end your union. Keeping the children’s best interests in mind, mediators work with you to develop an age-appropriate parenting plan that will keep you active in the lives of your child but not active in the life of the other parent. And, keep in mind, the divorce is between the two adults…not between the children and either of the parents.

#2 – How do we work out a schedule for the children in two houses?

Some of the important things to look at include the age of your child, your work schedules, do you travel, and geographical distance between the two houses relative to the location of the child’s school.  The important thing is the child get to see each of you regularly and predictably, without interference from either parent.  It is the parents’ responsibility to” facilitate” (not impede) the children seeing the other parent consistently, predictably and safely!  Several types of parenting plans (i.e. physical custody)are  available and designed to be age-appropriate yet flexible enough to meet the needs of the individual family.  Private and court-appointed mediators are available to help parents design effective plans.  And, be prepared to change the plan as the children get older – their needs change and the plan should too!

#3 – What to do when Mom and Dad can’t stand the sight of each other?

This is certainly understandable in divorce…you’ve decided to end your relationship…the last thing you want to do is see each other! AND, the last thing your kids want to see is the two of still fighting even though you’ve ended the marriage…the stress is too much for them, not to mention both of you.  Through structured parenting plans, transitions through the children attending school is best for the children while also minimizing the need for Mom and Dad to see each other.  We can also help you identify “neutral” exchanges when transitions happen outside of school time.  This is MUCH better for the child and definitely much better for you!

#4 – What is co-parenting vs. parallel parenting?  Which is right for me?

Here are several key highlights to consider:

  • Parents communicate regularly.
  •  Parents communicate over emergencies.
  •  Parents can communicate in person or
    over the phone.
  •  Parents use email, text messaging, or a
    third party (attorney, mediator or
    mutually agreed person).
  •  Major decisions about the child are
    discussed jointly.
  •  Major decisions are “communicated”
    rather than discussed.
  •  Parents work together as needed to
    resolve issues related to the child.
  •  Households are managed separately.  Each
    makes decisions about the child when s/he is
    in their household.
  •  Parents work together in the best
    interest of the child.
  •  Parents work separately for the best
    interests of the child.

 #5 – How do we tell the children?

A child’s age is another significant factor in how a child reacts to the changes that come with divorce. They ARE impacted differently at different age ranges.  Be aware of what is best to say…and NOT to say.

Still not sure? Get some professional guidance BEFORE you tell the children.   And, seriously consider providing the child or children with some short-term therapy/counseling so they have a “safe” place to talk about what is going on.  Talking to YOU is not necessarily safe!