What Are My Rights as a Parent After Divorce?

Becoming a parent is one of the biggest decisions we make in life. Bringing a child into this world (or adopting) comes with great responsibility. It also comes with certain parental rights such as the right to make decisions on your child’s behalf and the right to access information vital to their upbringing.

We usually make these commitments with another person, but when that relationship breaks down the parental role is altered significantly. When you get a divorce, your rights as a parent can be at risk.

Primary and Non-Primary Parental Rights

In almost all divorce cases involving children, one parent will be designated as the “primary” parent. The primary parent gets two specific and exclusive rights: designated the child’s primary residence and the right to enroll the child in school.

This centralizes those important decisions under one roof, preventing the child from being left in limbo by an ongoing battle over these decisions. Outside of those two circumstances, the non-primary parent will be involved in any decisions as long as the court has not ordered them out of the life of their child.

Who Has Final Say?

If the remaining decisions are left up to both parents, who has the final say? This is important to establish and understand as you both consider healthcare, daycare, tutoring, and other meaningful decisions for your child.

There is no one answer to this question. The court may not always answer it for you and leave it up to the parents to use their discretion in making such decisions. In general, however, the court will either assign final decision-making to one parent or will just determine that whoever is in possession of the child at a given time has decision-making authority.

Solving Contentious Issues

If a parent has decision-making authority, the court will expect them to accept and consider the advice and wishes of the other parent. Short of this, decisions become contentious. For example, consider a situation where one parent is adamant the child needs braces while the other adamantly believes the child does not.

If both parents have final decision-making authority whenever the child is in their custody, then one parent may decide to take them to get braces without getting final approval from the other. When the child shows up with braces upon returning to the custody of the other parent, intense arguments may ensue.

We do not recommend going behind the back of the other parent on key decisions like this, even if you are the primary parent. Mediation may be your best bet to resolve those contentious situations before disrupting the co-parenting plan or parental relationship with your child.

If you’re worried about losing your rights as a parent during a divorce, your best bet will be to work with a divorce attorney. Your attorney should carry the load of your case and defend your best interests from beginning to end. Contact Erinakes Law and protect your relationship with your children.

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Erinakes Law, PLLC

Erinakes Law is a dependable Texas family law firm dedicated to helping you resolve your legal matter. I will work closely with you to hone in on your goals and come up with a strategy to find the best outcome for you, your finances, and your children. I have experience in negotiation, mediation, and litigation to resolve your case and protect your rights at every step along the way. These skills will be important to get the result you want, especially when dealing with challenging co-parenting scenarios.

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