Co-parenting plans could help avoid future custody disputes

In Texas, divorced couples have two primary ways to deal with the raising of their children. First is the legal order, which is issued by the court. This binding agreement takes precedence over any other arrangements between parents and their children. Nevertheless, there is a realization that what may seem reasonable in the courtroom may not be easy to implement in day-to-day life.

Co-parents face such practical problems as who should pick up kids from school, for example. They also have to decide about moral issues, such as church attendance for their offspring. This is why there is the option for divorced parents to sign a co-parenting plan. If desired, the former couple can make the plan a formal legally binding document. In other instance, the parents may opt for an informal plan. In either case, it is best that everyone involved understands their rights and duties to ensure that things run smoothly.

There are cases in which someone believes that the parenting plan no longer serves in their best interest. This problem can arise when the living situation of one parent changes. In this event, a shared parenting coordinator or mediator could help parents make any modifications to the existing plan that benefits both parties. However, both parents may need to abide by a court-ordered plan if the issues are not resolved.

Because of the sensitive nature of the parent-child relationship, it may be wise to consult with an attorney on issues regarding child custody. An attorney could help ensure that a parenting plan is fair to the parent who does not have primary custody as well as ensure that obligations outlined in the agreement, such as child support, are being met.

Source: Attorney General of Texas, "Co-Parenting Guide," Accessed on Jan. 13, 2015

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