Texas law encourages divorcing parents to share child custody, which is officially called “joint managing conservatorship.” Exes who are both fit and able to parent generally negotiate an arrangement that is in the kids’ best interest and fits the parents’ schedules and needs as much as possible.
This often means one of several common schedules, such as one parent having custody during the week and the other parent getting Friday through Sunday. Other parents share child custody 50-50 by alternating every week or two. But as long as the plan is in the child’s best interest and the parents agree to abide by it, they are mostly limited only by their family’s particular needs and their imaginations.
Here are three methods of sharing custody that you might not have heard of before.
- Bird nesting. Children, especially younger ones, sometimes adapt better to divorce when they stay in a single home instead of shuttling between their parents’ separate households. Bird nesting means the children live in one house 100 percent of the time, while their parents move in and out depending on who has custody at that time.
- Midweek visits. If you and your ex live close enough together, a short midweek visit in addition to weekends could give the kids more time with the parent who does not have majority custody. For example, they could have dinner with the noncustodial parent on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
- Designated holidays. Along with scheduling daily life for the children, your custody order should set out with which parent the kids will spend their birthdays and holidays (like the Fourth of July, Labor Day weekend and Christmas). You can choose to alternate these holidays or split them up between you. For example, one of you could always have custody on Christmas Eve, and the other would get Christmas Day.
Having a clear understanding of what your children need out of your conservatorship order and what will work long-term can help you negotiate a fair and practical plan. Your divorce attorney will work with you to develop a strategy tailored to your children’s best interests.