When circumstances occur that prompt a Texas child custody case, having multiple children can cause some extra issues. While the basic laws apply whether you’re dealing with one child or 10, there are sometimes special concerns and alternative custody arrangements possible when dealing with more than one child.
Like all states, Texas has child custody laws in place to help protect children, keep them in healthy environments, and ensure that they are being financially supported by both their legal parents. Child custody decisions are made with the best interests of the child in mind; this can mean different things in different cases and can vary from child to child in some instances.
How the Courts Decide Custody
When considering child custody options, the courts looks at each parent individually and weighs the facts to decide what type of parenting plan would best suit the children’s needs. They take into consideration such things as the health of the parents and the children, the relationship of the children with their parents, both parents’ financial situation, living conditions and stability.
In most cases, the number of children involved in a custody case isn’t really all that relevant. When family courts rule on a child custody case, they normally order the same custody arrangements or parenting plan for all the children involved. It’s usually much easier to keep all the kids in the same household and on the same schedule and to keep the siblings together rather than creating a complicated plan that uproots some of the children.
While this works well in many cases, it isn’t the only possible option; in some instances, it may be found that it’s best if some siblings go to one parent while some go to the other. This can happen for a variety of reasons.
Reasons for Split Custody Decisions
Children with disabilities or other special needs usually fare better with the parent who is able to give the most time and attention to the child’s care, so, depending on the circumstances of each parent, a court may decide that the special needs child stay with one parent while other child(ren) go with the other.
Finances can also prompt a split custody decision. If many children are involved, it can be difficult for one parent to support them all. However, in the absence of any other good reasons for ordering spilt custody, it’s more common for the court to simply order an appropriate amount of child support be paid by the non-custodial than to break up the siblings.
Sometimes, the children’s individual relationships with both parents can lead to a split custody decision. This is especially true for older children who are mature enough to voice a preference and may feel more comfortable with one parent than with the other.
Further, if the children do not get along beyond normal sibling bickering, then a split custody arrangement may be in the best interests of the children.
Seeking Legal Help
Split custody can be a very challenging arrangement for both the parents and the children. Scheduling visitation, holidays, and other important events can be tricky. Still, many families have made the arrangement work for them. It’s important for the parents to work together in these situations to ensure that the kids see each parent – as well as their siblings – frequently enough to maintain family bonds.
Family law mediation or collaborative divorce that involves a child specialist can help parents make the best out of their child custody arrangements and may help the children better adjust.
Child custody is rarely a pain-free issue, but having a good attorney on your side can help navigate the legal matters. A caring family law attorney in Texas can help advise you regarding your options and will represent your child’s best interests in a child custody case. Contact Warren & Migliaccio: 888-584-9614.