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Don't believe what you hear about being a noncustodial parent

Despite the media hype, not every Texas family can enter into a joint custody agreement that equally splits time with the children. Not every divorced couple can sit down together for Thanksgiving dinner or go on vacation together. More importantly, you don't have to have that arrangement to love and support your children. In fact, you probably intend to love your children, pay your child support on time and make yourself as available to your children as you can after the divorce.

Noncustodial parents often get an undeserved bad rap these days. However, until someone else has walked in your shoes, they have no right to judge you. You and your former spouse may even have an amicable relationship, but your work or distance or some other factor prevents you from having more time with your children. That doesn't make you a bad parent.

Don't believe what you hear

When people hear the term "noncustodial parent" they tend to make assumptions and most of them are incorrect. Of course, there are bad apples in every barrel, but that doesn't mean that you should believe any of the following assumptions about noncustodial parents:

  • They're all deadbeats.
  • They don't spend time with their children.
  • They're all men.
  • They gave up custody of their children voluntarily.
  • They aren't considered single parents.

Even if you fit into one of these categories, it doesn't mean that you don't love your children.

What you hear from your family is what counts

Being a noncustodial parent, your time with your children is about quality, not quantity. How many custodial parents do you know that really spend quality time with their kids? Sure, many do, but there are just as many who go through their days and may not even know what their children did at school that day.

You may do whatever it takes to be at every event possible, make every visitation time and work with your former spouse as much as possible to be sure that the children are happy, healthy and secure. In the end, what matters most is that your family (and yes, possibly even your ex) knows that you care and will do everything you can to be in your children's lives despite the divorce.

Creating the best child custody agreement possible

Regardless of the fact that you will not be equally splitting physical custody with your former spouse, you may still share joint legal custody of your children, which gives you the right to be involved in major decisions regarding the children. As for your visitation time, you can negotiate a custody agreement that provides you with as much time as possible. Making sure that the agreement obtains the approval of the court may require some assistance, which is available if you ask for it.

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