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Could timing lead to a child custody dispute?

One of the hardest things for Texas parents to consider during a divorce is how to divide parenting time. There are a limited number of days that parents get to spend with their kids before they are all grown up and out of the house, which is why making the most of those days is a priority. Parents may want to consider how the timing of their divorce could create an unexpected child custody dispute.

Several states are looking at legislative changes that would create or alter mandatory waiting periods before couples could obtain a divorce. One southern state recently voted on the matter, and a proposal to change the waiting period from one year to six months was rejected by the state's House of Representatives. Even with a proposed change that would require couples to get counseling before their divorce could be made final, the bill could not pass.

Those who support these waiting periods claim that the additional time could help some couples save their marriage. Those who oppose, however, often point out that having to wait only serves to complicate matters between spouses who are ready to move on. In fact, if one or both parents decides to begin a new relationship, the input of that third party could make things even more challenging. Research has shown that lengthy custody disputes and a high degree of contention between parents has negative effects on children.

For those in Texas who believe that a divorce may be on the horizon, it may be worthwhile to check to see how state laws sit in regard to mandatory waiting periods. Laws can and do change, especially in relation to matters of divorce and custody. Knowing what to expect can help the divorce process move forward more smoothly, and may help avoid a child custody dispute.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Shortened Divorce Wait Fails to Get Louisiana House Support", Melinda Deslatte, April 25, 2017

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