Agreed Parenting Plans
You can fight for your children without fighting over the children.
The State of Texas encourages parents to share parental duties and the rights and responsibilities of their child after they have separated or divorced. If you will think about it, an agreed parenting plan is ultimately what is best for your child. Think about it, if two parents who know the child and the child’s needs are in agreement, how can a Judge that does not know the child and who has no more than a couple hours hear two people point out the worst in one another know what is best? Unfortunately, everyday Judges are put in just that position and asked to decide what two parents cannot – with whom does the child reside most of the time.It is difficult for a parent to hear, but one Judge I know has been known to tell parents in his courtroom that they are “stupid” for allowing the Court to decide custody. This Judge has a very terse and direct way of getting to the point, but the point is well taken. He routinely tells parents they are stupid to let a stranger decide the fate of their child and they are giving their child´s college education to the lawyer´s kids because they are being selfish.
While not every case is a matter of two parents just trying to win, I do agree with the Judge, there are times when a custody fight is just plain stupid and one side is fighting for the wrong reason. Fortunately, when this happens, the Judge can award attorneys fees to cover the cost of the other parent´s attorney.
Some things you should know about parenting plans?
The State of Texas allows parents to develop and create their own parenting arrangements and submit their parenting plan to the court (TFC ¶153.007). Generally, the Court will not disturb the terms of an agreed parenting plan – that is unless the plan is obviously not in the child´s best interest. The reason for this is that the Judge assumes that when two parents who best know and understand the child´s needs can agree, the Judge who does not know the child is in no position to say it is not in the best interest of the child.If the court finds the parenting plan is not in the child’s best interest, the court will ask the parents to revise the plan and modify it to serve the child’s best interests. Whenever parents are unable to agree or cannot submit a parenting plan that is suitable for the child, the court will develop a parenting plan for the family and the parents will be legally obligated to follow the plan (TFC ¶153.007.b). By making every effort to reach an agreement with the other parent, you retain control of the details of your parenting plan, which benefits your child and yourself.