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Introduction to Texas parenting plan and agreement guidelines

Married couples with children who are seeking a divorce will eventually have to grapple with the issue of child custody. No issue in a divorce is as important as the care and welfare of the children involved. That is why Texas law incorporates three overarching principles into each statute involving children.

Put rather succinctly, the aims of Texas family courts are to:

-- make certain that the children are placed in a safe, nonviolent and stable household

-- provide for frequent and ongoing contact between children and loving parents

-- encourage both parents to participate in child rearing and the sharing of rights

As a result of those noble intentions, the state of Texas has set forth regulations regarding parenting plan and agreement guidelines in the Texas Family Code.

Texas is one of several states that uses the word conservatorship instead of child custody when referencing the authority to make decisions on a child's behalf. Additionally, the word possession rather than visitation is used to mean a parent's access in order to spend time with the child.

For example, a parent who is determined to have sole conservatorship of a child is able to make decisions about: where the child lives, invasive medical and dental care procedures, education and other crucial choices.

That is why divorcing couples with children should both meet with their respective attorneys present and work out a parenting plan agreement that would hammer out many of the top decisions regarding the raising of the child/children prior to setting foot in court.

A well-thought-out and reasonable parenting plan will save both parties countless headaches down the road and may also prove to be a more economical compromise.

Source: Texas Family Code, "Chapter 153 Conservatorship, Possession, and Access" Jul. 29, 2014

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