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Posted on in Child Custody

TX family lawyerGetting divorced with children always complicates the divorce process. Parents will need to address child custody, child support, and other child-related issues in addition to the typical divorce issues like the division of property. Unfortunately, many parents struggle to discuss child custody concerns calmly and rationally. Tensions can run high when it comes to children and many parents disagree about what is best for their kids. If you are a parent going through a divorce, you may wonder how your relationship with your soon-to-be-ex will affect your ability to co-parent after the divorce.

One option that many parents find useful in high-conflict situations is parallel parenting. Parallel parenting is a type of co-parenting strategy that minimizes the interaction between divorced parents. Read on to learn more.

How Does Parallel Parenting Work?

In a typical co-parenting relationship, parents work together to raise their children even though they are divorced. Some co-parents even attend family vacations or events together. Unfortunately, contention between divorced parents can make this impossible.

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TX divorce lawyerDivorced parents face many unique obstacles and challenges that married parents never encounter. Not only do divorced parents have to find a way to co-parent their children effectively they may also encounter complex child custody disputes. One such dispute arises when a parent wishes to move out of state. If your ex is trying to move your child out of Texas, it is important to understand your rights and explore your legal options.

Child Relocations and Joint Managing Conservatorship

Texas courts presume that it is best for children to maintain a relationship with both of their parents. Unless there is a history of parental abuse, domestic violence, or neglect, courts typically prefer joint custody or “joint managing conservatorship” as it is called in Texas law. This means that both parents have a say in the child’s upbringing – including where the child lives. However, even if there is a joint managing conservatorship arrangement, one parent may be the primary parent or primary custodian.

Texas parenting plans usually place restrictions on where a primary parent may move a child. The parent may move to a neighboring county, for example, but not across the country. Parents who wish to move their child out of state typically need a court order to do so.

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austin child custody lawyerChild custody evaluations are ordered by Texas courts when parents are locked in a custody battle, and judges need to get impartial information regarding the best interests of a child. Although custody disputes generally take place during divorce proceedings, they can also happen any time a parent requests a modification in their custody arrangement. Unfortunately, custody evaluations can be long, expensive, and invasive proceedings, and if you are worried that a custody evaluator may be appointed to your case, it is important to understand how custody evaluations work. 

What is a Child Custody Evaluator? 

Custody evaluators are trained professionals who are often appointed by the court, although parents can hire private evaluators as well. Evaluators in Texas must have the appropriate education, supervised experience, and must work within a rigorous set of guidelines. 

Before a child custody evaluation begins, evaluators must provide their name, the purpose of the evaluation, specific issues to be investigated, and any additional elements of an investigation in addition to the basics that the evaluator will conduct. 

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austin child custody lawyerOne of the most unfortunate consequences of a Texas divorce is the tendency for parents to feel so hostile towards each other that they try to alienate their children from their other parent. In the worst cases, both parents actively try to develop a bias against each other. Other times only one parent is trying to undermine the parent-child relationship. 

Regardless of whether one or both parents are responsible for alienation, it can have a terrible impact on children and Texas family courts take this behavior seriously. If you are concerned that your relationship with your children is threatened because of your spouse’s actions, it is important to understand what behaviors are generally understood as alienating and what options you may have.

What is Parental Alienation? 

Although alienation can look many different ways, certain actions and behaviors may indicate that one parent is trying to cultivate distance or suspicion from a child towards their other parent. These include, but are not limited to: 

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austin child custody lawyerIn many Texas divorce cases, parents can reach a child custody agreement that serves their children’s best interests. However, it is not uncommon for parents to have significant disagreements or even serious concerns about the other parent’s influence on the children. When this is the case, a child custody dispute may need to be resolved through litigation, and the court may seek input from a representative known as a guardian ad litem when making decisions regarding a child’s best interests.

If you are involved in a complex child custody dispute, it is important to understand the role of a guardian ad litem and how it may affect the outcome of your case.

What Does a Guardian ad Litem Do?

There are a few different kinds of child representatives that the court may appoint in a child custody suit, but a guardian ad litem, or GAL, is one of the most common. The primary role of a GAL is to provide information to the court regarding a child’s best interests. Often, a GAL is a professional or a representative from a volunteer organization with a specific focus on the well-being of children. Anyone who serves as a GAL must have sufficient knowledge and training to fulfill their appointed duties.

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