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Many options for child custody arrangements

Texas parents who are getting a divorce may have a number of options available for a child custody arrangement. This can be an arrangement they agree upon, or it can be a schedule from a judge.

One common schedule used when one parent has custody and the other has visitation rights is for the child to spend alternating weekends with the noncustodial parent. Parents might add in a couple of hours of visitation for the child on a Wednesday night, or this might even become an overnight. Instead of ending on Sunday evening, weekend visits could be extended to Monday so the noncustodial parent takes the child to school.

However, parents do not also need to be tied to dividing the time between weekdays and weekends. Particularly in cases in which one or both parents have a varying schedule, such as swing shifts, the custodial parent might have the child Fridays through Tuesdays while the noncustodial parent has the children on other days. Some of these arrangements demand more communication and coordination from parents than others as they try to work out drop off and pickup schedules and plan around the child's extracurricular activities. Being punctual and attending to a child's needs is also important.

Many parents might choose joint physical custody over an arrangement in which one has custody and the other has visitation rights. This approach might introduce even more possibilities. For example, some parents have tried having the children live in the family home while they rotate in and out. While this arrangement may not be permanent, it can help children adjust in the first year or so after divorce. However, even if children must move back and forth between their parents' homes during the week, studies show that the disadvantages of this disruption are outweighed by the benefits of their spending time with both parents.

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