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The pros and cons of sole physical custody

When dealing with divorce, the common practice in Texas is to seek joint custody when possible as it is often considered best for the children. There are times, however, when parents choose to request sole physical custody. As with any custody arrangement, there are pros and cons to this situation.

The request for sole custody is very common. In this arrangement, the children live with one parent but normally have a significant amount of visitation time with the noncustodial parent. According to the U.S. Census Bureau around 25 percent of children live with one parent.

There can be some benefits to a sole physical custody arrangement. When the children have a single home they don't have to tote their belongings back-and-forth between two homes, often forgetting or being unable to locate items in the shuffle. There is more consistency as they often remain in the home or at least the same neighborhood they resided in before the divorce. This allows them to stay in the same school and maintain friendships they have developed. This stability and familiarity can help in a time that is fraught with emotion, loss and stress.

There are some drawbacks to the sole custody arrangement, however. When children no longer live with a parent their relationship is altered. Their time together can become more about fun, and the parent's ability to get to be an active part of the child's development can be lost. Although they still get to spend time together, they miss many opportunities to bond and enjoy the closeness they share while living in the same house. This can be a significant emotional loss for both the child and parent.

As with any custody arrangement after a divorce, sole physical custody has its pros and cons. When a parent begins exploring his or her custody options, it is best to discuss the situation with an experienced attorney. An attorney can ensure the parent is aware of all his or her legal options under Texas law and can assist in determining what arrangement would be in the best interest of the children, as it is their physical and emotional well-being that is of the utmost importance.

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