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Joint Custody Work Explained

When a couple goes through a divorce, Texas courts keep the best interests of the children in mind, and Texas public policy specifies that children benefit most from having a meaningful relationship with both parents in most cases. As such, understanding how joint custody works is essential. Furthermore, working with a knowledgeable Texas divorce attorney is the most effective way to ensure that your custody arrangement meets your family’s needs.

The experienced attorneys at Adams Law Firm have compiled this guide to help parents understand what joint custody is, answer questions about complex scenarios, and guide them through the possibility of getting joint custody without going to court.

What Is Joint Custody?

Joint custody is an arrangement where both parents share the rights and responsibilities of raising their children after a divorce or separation. There are two main types of joint custody:

  • Joint legal custody, called joint managing conservatorship in Texas, involves both parents having equal decision-making rights for significant life decisions concerning the child’s upbringing, such as education, religious upbringing, and medical care.
  • Joint physical custody, which is joint possessory conservatorship in Texas, refers to the child residing with each parent for a significant portion of time, typically alternating between the parents’ households on a predetermined schedule. This allows the child to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents.

The benefits of joint custody for children include stability, continued involvement of both parents in their lives, and the opportunity to develop strong bonds with each parent. However, joint custody arrangements can vary significantly based on each family’s unique circumstances, such as the parents’ work schedules, living arrangements, and the child’s needs.

What Happens If a Custodial Parent Doesn’t Show Up to Court?

Attending court hearings related to child custody matters is crucial. Failure to appear in court can have severe consequences for the non-appearing parent, including the following:

  • The court may issue a default judgment in favor of the appearing parent, granting them the custody arrangement they requested.
  • The non-appearing parent may lose their opportunity to present their case or negotiate a custody agreement that meets their needs.
  • In some cases, the court may issue a warrant for the non-appearing parent’s arrest, which could lead to fines or even jail time.

Not showing up to court demonstrates a lack of commitment to the custody process and may negatively affect the judge’s perception of the non-appearing parent’s ability to prioritize the child’s best interests. Consulting with a family law attorney is highly recommended so you can understand your rights and obligations regarding court appearances. If you have missed a court appearance, or if your children’s other parent has failed to appear in court, the experienced attorneys at Adams Law Firm can advocate for your interests and those of your children.

How to Get Joint Custody Without Going to Court

Joint Custody Work Explained

While some custody disputes may require court intervention, alternative dispute resolution methods can help parents reach a mutually agreeable custody arrangement without the time, stress, and expense of litigation.

Mediation is a popular option where a neutral third-party mediator facilitates negotiations between the parents. The mediator assists in identifying areas of agreement and compromise, ultimately helping the parties reach a custody settlement. Mediation is often more cost-effective, private, and faster than going to court.

Collaborative law is another alternative dispute resolution method that involves both parties and their attorneys working together to negotiate a custody agreement. This approach emphasizes open communication, compromise, and prioritizing the child’s best interests throughout the process.

Both mediation and collaborative law require a willingness to communicate respectfully and make concessions. A family law attorney can guide clients through these alternative dispute resolution processes, ensuring their rights and interests are protected while working toward a fair and sustainable custody arrangement.

Contact Adams Law Firm Today for Assistance with Joint Custody Matters

Establishing custody after a divorce can be highly emotional and often contentious. However, it is essential to maintain your patience and perspective to maximize your chances of a favorable result at the end of the process. Working with an experienced and knowledgeable Texas joint custody attorney can help you avoid common pitfalls as you work to lay the foundations of a secure and promising future for your children.

The seasoned divorce attorneys at Adams Law Firm have been serving Texans and representing them in family law matters for over 35 years. We understand the challenges parents and children face as they work toward establishing a new shape for their lives. Our legal team can give you the support and advocacy you need and answer any questions you have. Call us today at (281) 391-9237 or contact us online for a confidential consultation to learn more about how we can help you.

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