Separated parents in Texas with primary custody have several unique child-rearing responsibilities. It’s important to understand that custody can include legal custody (the right to decide on a child’s medical care, upbringing and education) as well as physical custody (the place where the child lives most of the time). These types of custody can be shared differently among parents. Even if one parent has primary custody, however, he or she is still responsible for sticking to the visitation schedule with the noncustodial parent.

It’s important that the parenting plan with a child’s noncustodial parent contains a standard schedule for visitation and parenting time. These plans should not be changed without consulting the other parent. In addition, custodial parents should carefully track the child support payments that they receive. If a dispute over support payments later develops, careful record-keeping can help to clearly resolve the matter.

While the parents may have ended their romantic relationship, they are still in a different kind of mutual relationship based on caring for their children. As such, it can be good to consult with the other parent on key issues, even if legal custody is not formally shared. If it is shared, consultation and joint decision-making is a necessity. In almost all cases, a good relationship between co-parents helps to protect the child’s best interests.

During a divorce or breakup, child custody issues can lead to some contentious disagreements. However, a family law attorney could help a parent to advocate for a fair solution to custody disputes and develop a positive parenting plan.