Parenting Plans and Parenting Time
When the parents of a child have a friendly relationship and communicate well with each other, they may be able to develop a parenting plan to determine the custody of their child. Texas law favors the amicable resolution of child custody disputes and allows parents to enter into an agreement regarding parenting plans and parenting time. The parenting plan must be submitted in writing to the court to review. If the court finds the plan to be in the best interest of the child, it will issue an order affirming the plan. If you intend to develop a parenting plan to determine custody issues regarding your child, you should seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney to clarify what the plan entails and ensure that it includes whatever provisions are necessary to benefit your child and preserve your rights as a parent. The Dallas child custody lawyers at the McClure Law Group have the knowledge and experience to assist you in developing a parenting plan that meets your needs.Provisions Regarding Legal Custody
A parenting plan that sets forth the terms of child custody in as much detail as possible helps to prevent confusion and discord going forward. Under Texas law, a parenting plan must contain provisions regarding conservatorship and possession of the child. Conservatorship is what is typically thought of as legal custody. Legal custody defines each parent’s rights to make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. The parenting plan should specifically define whether either parent is entitled to make his or her own decisions for the child or whether the parents must confer on certain issues. Important topics to address in defining conservatorship include who can choose what school the child attends and medical issues regarding the child. Most parents agree to some form of a joint managing conservatorship, in which they both have input on decisions regarding the child’s health and welfare.Provisions Regarding Parenting Time
Possession is what is thought of as physical custody of the child. Provisions defining possession set forth each parent’s right to parenting time. In most cases involving parenting plans and parenting time, parents will agree to some form of joint physical custody of the child. Important factors to consider in defining the terms of physical custody are the age and specific needs of the child. If he or she is very young it may not be beneficial to be away from either parent for an extended period of time. Additionally, if a young child is in school and the parents do not live in the same school district, it may be impractical for both parents to share equal custody as well as disruptive to the child’s life to switch homes in the middle of the week. An older child, however, may be able to deal with a less consistent schedule. The parenting plan should also define the possession schedule for holidays, birthdays, and vacation time. The plan must also allow for some deviation from the possession order so that neither parent will be found to have violated the plan if circumstances require him or her to deviate from it.Modification Provisions
Lastly, Texas law allows for modification of the parenting plan under certain circumstances. As a child matures, his or her needs may change, or a child may develop a preference for spending more time with one parent, which could require a modification of the plan. Additionally, the work or personal obligations of either parent may change so that it becomes necessary to revisit the parenting plan and parenting time agreement to determine what works best under the new circumstances.Meet with a Skilled Child Custody Lawyer in the Dallas Area
Even if you have a good relationship with the person with whom you are developing a parenting plan, you should consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney when determining how custody of your child should be allocated to ensure that your child’s needs are met and that you do not waive any of your parenting rights. The attorneys at the McClure Law Group have the skills and experience needed to assist you in developing a parenting plan that is not only in the best interest of your child, but meets your parenting wishes as well. With offices in Dallas as well as Collin County in Plano (by appointment), we represent individuals in Dallas, Fort Worth, Garland, Richardson, Irving, Frisco, McKinney, and Rockwall, and other cities in Dallas, Grayson, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Rockwall Counties as well. We help clients who are navigating issues including divorce, child custody, child support, and numerous other family law situations. To schedule a consultation, contact us at 214.692.8200 or via our online form.