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How can parents resolve a child custody dispute?

For parents going through a divorce or unmarried parents that do not live together, child custody is a critical issue that often gives rise to disputes.  Splitting parenting time can be difficult to fathom for any parent. Some parents can simply not agree to a custody plan on their own, necessitating the assistance of outside parties.  Below, our Midland, Texas child custody lawyersdiscuss ways that parents can potentially resolve child custody disagreements.


Depending on your relationship with the other parent, it may be possible to resolve the child custody dispute on your own.  Parents should start by consulting with their attorney so that they know their rights when it comes to custody. With their rights clear, parents can set out a list of their ideal goals when it comes to custody.  Anticipate that compromise will be needed and come ready to listen to the other parent. At times, a frank and logical discussion will go a long way towards settling the dispute. With your proposed custody plan in place, your attorney can then review the matter to ensure it meets your family’s best interests.


When parents are unable to reach a custody decision on their own, or with the guidance of their attorneys, it could be time to consider mediation. Mediation offers a non-adversarial process in which parents, with attorney assistance, are guided by a mediator to reach a custody arrangement.  The mediator will consist of a neutral third party who, rather than hearing evidence and issuing a decision, will instead guide the parents towards cooperatively developing a custody schedule.

Mediation comes with several benefits.  It keeps control over custody decisions with you, the parents.  It can avoid the costs and stress of litigation. In some situations, however, there is simply no reasonable way for parents to reach a custody arrangement absent court involvement.


Parents who cannot agree outside of court may be forced to litigate the matter.  This is often the case where one parent has serious concerns about the other parent receiving unsupervised visitation or custody of a child.  When a child custody matter goes to court, parents should anticipate that the judge will consider several factors in determining what custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child. Parents can present evidence to this effect.  Relevant considerations may include who has traditionally cared for the child, the mental and physical health of each parent, the child’s wishes, and much more.