When divorcing Texas parents are settling the child custody agreement, there are two aspects that must be considered. Physical custody refers to where the child will live. Legal custody refers to who has the right to make major decisions for the child. Legal custody can be sole or joint, just like physical custody. There are pros and cons to seeking sole legal child custody.
A parent with sole legal custody is solely responsible for major life decisions regarding the child such as religion, education and health care. This can be a stressful burden for one person to carry. Some parents seek sole legal custody just to avoid having to consult with the other parent when making decisions about the child. If the second parent is an active, positive, involved part of the child's life, that may not be in the child's best interest. Sole custody should not be used as a way to alienate another parent.
There are times when sole legal custody is beneficial. If the second parent is not active in the child's life or lives some distance away, it may be easier for the first parent to make decisions for the child's welfare without having to try to get in touch with the second parent. A parent who is not really involved may not know the child well enough to make decisions that would best suit him or her. It also can protect a child from a parent who makes risky or self-serving choices.
Just like with any decision, there are pros and cons to every side. When negotiating the child custody agreement, parents must ultimately seek the situation that will best benefit the children. An experienced Texas family law attorney can guide a parent through his or her legal options and help seek the arrangement that will be in the best interest of the children.