Divorce changes a lot of things, most often for the better. Most people feel much happier after leaving bad marriages behind. Some even find that going their own way is easier on finances. But other changes are harder, especially for parents who are stuck in child custody battles.

A lot of divorcing parents in Texas are working together to create the best possible child custody agreement. This will look different for every family, but the main goal of any custody agreement is to protect a child’s best interests. But it is not all good news. The CEO for the nonprofit Kids In the Middle says she has seen more and more high conflict situations.

Mental health and substance abuse play large roles in these conflicts. It is not that uncommon for one parent to accuse the other of having a mental health problem that prevents him or her from being a good caregiver. The same goes for accusations of substance abuse. These are of course serious concerns and should be treated as such, but unfortunately some parents are weaponizing nonissues or even making false accusations.

These types of child custody battles are especially problematic because they focus on the parents’ wants and not the childrens’ needs. This does not mean that a parent should quickly concede to his or her ex to avoid conflict, but it does mean that parental rights must be carefully balanced against children’s best interests. It can be hard to truly separate these two during divorce, so some people find it helpful to speak with an attorney who is experienced in Texas family law.