Will Texas lawmakers consider a shared custody law?

When entering divorce proceedings, both spouses may have very strong opinions about how the details of the split will shake out. This may be particularly true in terms of child custody. Both parents might want what’s best for their child or children, but they have different ideas about what kind of custody arrangement will accomplish that goal. As such, settling custody matters can become a major sticking point in divorce.

In some cases, it may be very apparent that sole physical custody is in line. Other situations, however, might not be so clear. Under these circumstances, parents will have to balance their desire for custody with the needs of the kids.

Across the country, a number of states are looking at the possibility of fundamentally changing child custody laws. Perceiving biases against shared custody agreements, proponents of change suggest that the law should encourage or require divorced parents to split custody equally.

According to the USA Today, Texas isn’t currently among the states looking at adopting this kind of legislation. However, just last year, lawmakers in neighboring Arkansas passed a law that outlines custody plans providing for equal — or nearly equal — parenting time.

Supporters of equal-parenting laws point to changes in societal expectations, according to a report published by USA Today. It’s no longer the case that women always stay home with children and a growing number of men are becoming primary caretakers.

This legislation has not won universal support, however. Some family law observers say that a rigid mandate for equal custody, barring domestic violence or substance abuse, could prevent judges from creating an agreement that truly meets the best interests of children.

Regardless of any potential changes to Texas law, the current standard is based on what will work best for the entire family. In some cases, what parents want isn’t best for the children. As such, parents should try to put aside their differences and work toward a custody agreement that will allow their children to adjust well the changes created by divorce.

Source: USA Today, “Shared parenting could be new divorce outcome,” Jonathan Ellis, Jan. 27, 2014

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