For most parents facing divorce, their primary concern is the wellbeing of their children. Now that more parents are sharing childcare duties and wanting to maximize their parenting time, understanding what factors go deciding who the primary caregiver is can be confusing for parents in Texas.
While the specifics may vary from state to state, most will look at which parent is most involved in the day-to-day care of the children. Judges will want to know who takes the children to school or daycare and helps with homework, who is the primary disciplinarian and who bathes the children and cooks for them. In general, the parent who performs most of the daily activities related to the children will be considered the primary caregiver. This includes extracurricular and religious activities, so it’s important to look at the children’s overall schedule, not just school activities.
No one factor is given more weight than the others. Judges understand that children require a lot of care, and cooking dinner for them is as important as shuttling them to soccer practice. This is one instance where quantity matters, though, so pitching in occasionally is not equivalent to being there night after night to oversee the bedtime routine. If you plan to petition the court to be the primary custodian, keeping a diary of your childcare activities can be a great way of showing that you are already the primary caregiver.
Regardless of whether you want primary custody, joint custody or just generous visitation rights, consulting with a lawyer who has experience in child custody cases may help you navigate the complicated issues that can arise. Having your own advocate may help ensure the best outcome in your case.