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What impact does a sole custody order have?

Just last year, almost 20 states looked at bills that would make shared parenting the basis for most custody orders, moving away from the long standard of the mother as the custodial parent. While visitation schedules have been used for decades, research has shown that these schedules do not give children anywhere near equal access to both parents. Texas is now following suit and considering an equal parenting bill that could change the way the courts deal with divorces and child custody situations.

In the state of Texas, the default visitation schedule for divorced parents has the children seeing the noncustodial parent approximately 22 percent of the time. That can make it very difficult for the noncustodial parent to keep up with the children's lives and maintain an active presence. It also makes it more difficult for parents to set up rules and family guidelines that are consistent between the two houses.

When children lose access to one parent, it can increase their risk of getting involved with drugs and alcohol, make them more likely to have difficulty keeping up in school and increase the likelihood that the children will engage in poor decision-making. Unfortunately, these teenage mistakes can lead to bigger problems later in life.

While equal or close to equal access to both parents may be ideal, there are many situations where it just isn't possible, such as in the case of one parent being in the military or a parent who doesn't make an effort to maintain a relationship with the children. Whether you want more time with your child or believe that a sole custody arrangement is needed, a family law attorney can provide you with the information you need to move forward.

Source: Victoria Advocate, "This Fathers' Day, give gift of shared parenting," Robert Franklin, June 20, 2015

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