When parents in Texas seek custody, they will be seeking two types. Legal custody refers to having decision-making power over a child’s upbringing. Physical custody refers to where the child will live. In some custody arrangements, one parent might have physical custody and the other parent visitation, but they might share legal custody.
Defining legal custody
Legal custody is the right of a parent to make decisions that will affect the child’s life on a long-term basis. The decisions made relate to a wide range of issues including:
- Medical and dental care
- Religious upbringing
- Any other issues related to the child’s upbringing
Legal custody can be shared by the parents, which is often seen by the court as in the best interests of the child. A parent can also be awarded sole legal custody, where only that parent would have the right to make those decisions. However, this is usually only done in cases where the other parent is found unfit to make the decisions, where there is a history of domestic violence or substance or alcohol abuse or when one parent is mostly absent from a child’s life.
Making decisions about education
The decisions parents make about their child’s education can have a lasting impact on the child’s life. These can include:
- What type of education the child receives
- Where the child goes to school
- What type of extracurricular activities the child engages in
- What type of tutoring or reinforcement the child attends
When parents who share legal custody cannot agree on their decisions around education, the co-parenting process can be complicated. If they end up fighting over each decision they need to make about education, they will probably fight over all other decisions as well. They might end up returning to court to settle their differences.
If you find yourself in this type of situation, you will need to prepare yourself and learn your rights as a parent. You will need to show the court that sole legal custody is in the best interest of your child.