Joint custody is the most common custody arrangement by far. Texas courts tend to favor agreements that help the child maintain a relationship with both parents.
Yet the term “joint custody” can be confusing. For one thing, it does not specify a certain division of parenting time, but rather only establishes certain parental rights that both partners retain after the divorce is complete. It also does not specify a division of responsibilities – financial or otherwise.
Evans Family Law Group (in Austin and Bastrop) can help you pursue joint custody. You can contact us now for a consultation, or read on to learn more about joint custody and whether it’s right for your family.
What rights does a parent have with joint custody?
Joint custody gives you standing to help make decisions on your child’s behalf. Those include medical, financial, educational, and religious decisions. So, for example, a parent with primary physical custody (the primary conservator) would need to consult with the other before his or her child’s school.
You would also have the right to some visitation and parenting time, though the amount of that parenting time won’t necessarily be 50/50. The division of parenting time is generally a separate issue.
Is 50/50 custody the same as joint custody?
“50/50 custody” usually denotes a 50/50 parenting time arrangement. In this case you’d both have joint physical custody and joint legal custody, to the point where you’d have roughly 182 nights with your child.
You can have joint custody without having 50/50 custody. In fact, this is very common. You could have a 70/30 parenting time arrangement without losing your say in how your child is raised.
It’s very rare for the primary conservator to receive sole legal custody as well. This would only happen in a situation where the non-custodial parent has been proven unfit or an active danger to the child.
How does joint custody affect child support?
Joint legal custody doesn’t affect child support at all. Visitation may influence child support. For instance, if your child spends more than 40% of the year with you, child support is calculated by taking the difference between what the primary conservator would pay and what you would pay. The difference is paid to the primary conservator.
Here’s one way to think of it: child custody is divided up into three issues: where and when the child spends their time, how much money gets paid to whom for support, and whether each parent retains decision-making power. Those are three separate issues.
Need help with your joint custody case?
Custody issues can be confusing, stressful, and difficult to navigate. Though in general the court aims to help you maintain a relationship with your child, the details of some arrangements can be less advantageous to that.
Contact Evans Family Law Group to schedule a consultation today. We can answer specific questions and help figure out your next steps.