Create a Parenting Plan Based on Your Child's Current Needs
When you make child custody arrangements in Texas, your parenting plan should address both your child’s basic and current needs.
There are numerous issues to consider when creating a child custody plan. In addition to the parents’ needs and scheduling concerns, there are special considerations that come into play with children. Age and developmental levels are major factors, as are their school, sports, recreational, and social activities. The following provides some basic information on creating a parenting plan and tips for addressing your child’s current needs.
Under Section 153.002 of the Texas Family Code, making sure the child’s best interests are served is the top priority in making custody arrangements. Parents are encouraged to create and submit a parenting plan before the court, outlining basic arrangements for the child’s care. This plan will include:
The amount of time the child will spend in each parent’s home each week;
Decision making responsibilities in areas such as the child’s education, health care, and religious upbringing;
Details regarding how exchanges of the children between the parents will be made;
Special arrangements for holidays, school breaks, and other arrangements;
Provisions for handling unexpected changes and problems as they arise.
It is only when the judge approves of your plan that it becomes a final order. If the judge feels the child’s best interests are not served or his or her health and safety is threatened in any way, this is justification to override the parenting plan.
In addition to your child’s basic needs, you may need to adjust your parenting plan to accommodate participation in sports and recreational events. You may also need to modify pick up and drop off times due to homework schedules, doctor or dentist appointments, or other important needs that arise.
The Texas Attorney General encourages parents to consider their child’s current needs in terms of the child’s overall age, as well. While children of all ages benefit from having regular contact with parents who are active and engaged in their lives, special considerations based on age include:
For children under the age of 6: Children in this age group require regular schedules in terms of meals, naps, bedtimes to avoid becoming overly tired, grumpy, and upset.
For children between the ages of 6 and 10: School becomes more of a factor in this age group and it is important to create a schedule that gives them adequate time to rest and to prepare.
For children between the ages of 10 and 16: At this age, friends and social activities play an important role in the child’s life. They are likely to become resentful and rebellious if there are disruptions in their schedule and if the time they need for individual pursuits is not respected.
Attorney John Powell, III has been helping parents create plans regarding children for more than 20 years. To find out how we can assist you, contact our Pearland child custody attorney today and request a consultation.