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How parents can negotiate a custody and visitation schedule

Parents in Texas who are getting divorced must plan a child custody schedule. If they are unable to agree on a schedule, they might have to go to litigation. However, the disadvantage here is that a parent might end up with less time with the child than was offered during negotiations.

Parents who are negotiating should think about the situation from the point of view of the child. They should take logistics and the child's schedule into account. For example, the parents should try to live near one another to make it easier for the child to move between their homes. If the child can stay with the same child care provider, this helps reduce the number of changes in the child's life. Parents should think about what extracurricular activities the child has and how that might affect the schedule. It is also important for parents to remember that the purpose of a child custody arrangement is to facilitate the relationship between the parent and the child. This means that the parent might sometimes be inconvenienced by the schedule.

The child custody schedule should not be used as a weapon to get back at the other parent. It should also be designed based on the current situation and not what parents hope might happen in the future, such as one parent relocating to be closer.

Child custody negotiations can be emotional, which could make them more difficult. An attorney may be able to assist a parent with the mediation process. Mediation does not have the adversarial atmosphere of a child custody courtroom and might help parents reach an agreement that they are both happy with. A parent who does have to go to litigation should try to demonstrate a willingness to cooperate with the other parent and put the best interests of the child first.

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