Married and unmarried parents have several important decisions to make when their relationship is ending:
- Parental rights and duties to make legal decisions for children ("legal custody" or "joint/sole managing conservatorship")
- Shared parenting time ("physical custody" or "possession, access, and visitation").
There are new terms to learn and laws that can be confusing. For example, Texas's "standard possession order" is the minimum time the State believes is in a child's best interest to spend with the "possessory conservator" who is the nonresident parent or "co-parent". The "managing conservator" or "home parent" is the parent in whose home the children spend most of their time. A "primary conservator" is a parent who has the legal right to decide where the children's primary residence will be. The term does not mean a parent who has the most time with the children in his or her home, although frequently that parent is also the "primary conservator".
Parents also need to address:
- Child support
- Children's health and dental insurance, and payment of premiums, co-pays, and deductibles
If this is overwhelming, remember you are not alone. At Detente, our mediators work with parents everyday who may or may not seek to understand all the terms, but who certainly see the value of making decisions together for their children after talking them through with a legal professional who won't take sides. We can help you and your family too.
Benefits of Parenting Plan Mediation
- Agree to cooperate and have consistency between households
- Improve your communication as co-parents
- Try out shared parenting schedules for children of different ages or development
- Discuss special needs for children
- Customize children's time with parents who travel, don't have regular schedules, or have an addiction
Parenting and child specialists in our resource network are also available if the parents and the mediator want additional expertise.
Detente Tip: Information on this website about child support, parental rights and duties, and shared parenting time applies to never married, separating, or divorcing parents.