When parents divorce in the State of Texas, the law requires them to prepare a parenting plan. A parent plan is an outline of agreements between parents regarding the raising and future care of their children. This document helps ensure that all fundamental details in a child’s life are anticipated in advance. It is best to have a parenting plan prepared with the help of a qualified child custody attorney, as there are many important specifics to be included and accepted by the courts. An experienced child custody lawyer also knows how to help parents not overlook the needs of their children when divorcing and properly present a parenting plan that should satisfy all legal requirements.

Why A Parenting Plan?

Parenting plans in Texas were included as part of family law in 2005, as an important way to supplement the Standard Possession Order associated with child custody and care. These plans are a legal account of court-approved plans for the care and raising of a divorcing couple’s children and includes each parent’s rights and responsibilities to all children and to each other. This legal record protects children and parents alike, while hopefully reducing the problems that can arise pertaining to child custody and care.

Parenting plans advocate co-parenting, giving each partner a role in the care and raising of their children and making them responsible for such care. Once a parenting plan is accepted as a part of the final custody order, it reduces the need for parents to return to court over a dispute. The plan itself is a legal and binding child custody and care directive.

What Do Parenting Plans Include?

Parenting plans document the legal responsibilities and rights of each parent regarding important issues such as child support, visitation, rules and schedules, care provisions and decisions, and the ability to act on behalf of their children. This plan also promotes the development of healthy relationships between parents and children, regardless of which parent has physical custody. Most importantly and especially in a high-conflict child custody case, this plan addresses any foreseen parenting conflicts, documenting agreed-upon resolutions, and then presents all documentation to the court for final approval.

Negotiating Parenting Plans

Parenting plans can be negotiated with the help of an experienced child custody attorney; however, when coming to an agreement is especially challenging, some cases require the assistance of a parenting coordinator. These individuals are conflict specialists who assist a child custody lawyer to devise a workable parenting plan that is most beneficial to affected children. If mediation is not successful in the creation of a workable parenting plan, the family court will assign a plan, although this is not preferable. It is always best for parents to reach an agreement on their own, with a plan that is more likely to be followed.

Couples who are divorcing in Texas and have children must consider the issues of child custody and co-parenting, as each partner is expected to contribute to the care and upbringing of involved children, no matter which parent has physical custody. Parenting plans are required by Texas law as an important way to identify each parent’s rights and responsibilities and protect the children with a well-planned parenting plan. It is recommended that parents negotiate their plans with the guidance of a lawyer experienced in family law who will ensure that the agreement satisfies the court’s requirements for custody and co-parenting. For more information about parenting plans, couples considering divorce should contact an experienced attorney!

Garza & Elizondo, LLP

680 E. St. Charles, Suite 600

Brownsville TX 78520

(956) 202-0067

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