Parenting

4 posts

Father

Shared Parenting After A Divorce

Shared Parenting After A Divorce Is The Healthiest Option Divorce is difficult for anyone and everyone involved in the process. Even if the divorce is amicable, that doesn’t make it easy.  Deciding what party gets custody of the children and parenting powers is difficult.  Despite being difficult, it is a decision that needs to be made. In the past, it was tradition to award only one parent parenting powers.  This parent would often be the mothers because it was believed that mothering instinct was powerful and that it was a requirement for anyone growing up.  For the most part, this notion is being dismissed as outdated and inaccurate. A more modern but still outdated approach is to assign visitation hours to a parent, most often the father.  The term visitation implies that the parent is something less than they are.  It also is demoralizing. The best approach to parenting after a divorce is to split the parenting as equally as possible.  While the best approach is to have the parenting split 50/50, the minimal amount that a parent should be with their child(children) is 35%.  This allows for a connection between the parent and the child, it also allows for […]

Texas Primary Custody

Deciphering Texas Primary Custody

Does Primary Custody Exist? Usually a misnomer due to its frequency in popular culture, “primary custody” is not an actual legal term recognized in Texas. Texas courts will typically appoint both parents as “joint managing conservators” or “JMCs” for their children, and what people commonly refer to as “primary custody” tracks most closely with the party who is granted an exlusive right to determine “primary residency” of the child. To better understand this concept, I find it helpful to think about all the different rights and duties of a parent as strands of a rope. Prior to court involvement, all those rights and duties are “together” unified with both parents. Both parents have the full complement of rights and duties at all times, and neither parent has any authority to stop the other from exercising those rights, or conversely the obligation to take any particular action in regards to the child. There are pros and cons to this situation, but the main downside, and the one that the court most specifically tries to address, is that in the event of a disagreement there is no clear way to make a decision or to break a tie. If parents are on […]

Co-Parenting for the School Year

As the new school year is about to begin, I’d like to offer some tips for the newly-divorced or new members of a blended family to ease the transition and try to avoid unnecessary conflict. First, get ahead of your anticipated disputes by designing, implementing, and complying with a detailed and customized Parenting Plan (easier said than done, right?) This document is your roadmap, and provides all parents (biological and step parents) the specific terms and conditions under which they are to operate, leaving no room for “innocent” confusion or misunderstanding. Second, set expectations relating to school work. Who will be responsible for making sure that classroom assignments are properly completed and handed-in? Who is available to work on research projects that span across multiple weeks? Perhaps design this by subject matter (Mom helps with Math, Dad helps with English). Or maybe Mom will work with one child, while Dad works with the other. There is no “correct” answer but a well-designed Parenting Plan identifies roles and responsibilities so that academic performances don’t suffer. Third, discuss what you are willing (or, aren’t willing) to agree to relating to after-school activities and sports. And please, DO NOT engage your child(ren) in […]

Free-range parenting

Risks of “Free-Range” Parenting

The Meitiv family in Montgomery County is being investigated for neglect of their children after allowing their 6 and 10 year old children walk home about a mile from the park to their home. What the parents call free-range parenting and lessons on independence, the Montgomery County Child Protective Services call neglect – in Maryland, state law requires that a child under 8 years old be accompanied or supervised by someone of at least 13 years of age in dwellings, enclosures and vehicles. The parents say that this law does not apply to their children as the children were walking home and not indoors. Additionally, the county provides bus services to elementary children only if they live a mile away from the school, implying that the county condones children as young as kindergarten aged walking up to a mile to get to school. Drawing the line between neglectful parents who put their children in harm’s way and free-range parents is very important and unfortunately parents who practice free-range parenting are finding that they are burdened by overzealous CPS investigations. The Meitivs say that their involvement with CPS has been an invasion of their privacy, with police and caseworkers insisting on […]