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What is the best custody schedule for my child?

A parenting plan is a document created and agreed to by the parents of a minor child, and approved by the court, often during a divorce.  It governs the relationship between two parents regarding custody of the child.  Your parenting plan will be of critical importance to your child’s future and your life post-divorce.  Our Midland, Texas child custody lawyers at Navarrete & Schwartz, P.C. discuss what you need to include in your parenting plan and how you can create the best parenting plan for your child.

Joint vs. Sole Managing Conservatorship

In Texas, the term conservatorship is used instead of custody.  Conservatorship refers to a parent’s rights and duties concerning their children, such as the right to make important decisions regarding the child.  Rather than using the term visitation, Texas refers to physical time with the child as a possession and access schedule.

When it comes to decision making for the child, known as managing conservatorship, the two main options are joint or sole managing conservatorship.  Joint managing conservatorship allows the parents to share decision making responsibilities.  In determining whether joint conservatorship is right for your family, you should weigh whether you and the other parent can effectively share in decision making, whether both of you support a positive relationship with the child and the other parent, and the needs of the child.  

Sole managing conservatorship gives one parent the responsibility to make decisions for the child, while the other may still be provided with possession of and access to the child, commonly known as visitation.  Sole conservatorship may be best when the parents cannot agree on basic decisions or if a history of abuse existed in the relationship.

Your parenting plan must provide a detailed description of what decisions which parent can make for the child.  It should set out which home will be the child’s primary residence.  It must also include a possession and access schedule that shows when each parent will have visitation with the child.  

There are many options when it comes to a visitation schedule.  Older children could benefit from a week on/week off schedule.  For some families, a rotating weekend schedule is best.  Parents will generally elect to rotate holidays or split major occasions like birthdays and Christmas.  Your custody attorney will help you to develop a strong parenting plan that will serve your child and family well.