What Does a Child Custody Lawyer in Texas Do?
Child custody deals with custodial awards or determinations involving a minor child. A minor is legally defined in Texas as any child under the age of eighteen (18).
Custody battles most often arise in situations where the parents cannot reach an agreement on who will have custody of their child following their divorce. In these situations, the court must step in and make a determination based on the best interests of the child.
According to Texas Family Code (Chapter 153), child custody is granted to an individual who can take care of the child based on the child’s best interests. The job of child custody lawyers is to advocate for your goals regarding your child’s education, health, welfare, and parenting schedule.
A child custody lawyer can help you create a custody agreement that benefits the children’s safety and happiness and prove to the court that custody arrangement will be in the best interest of the child.
Child Custody Laws in Texas
Texas courts have sole discretion in determining custody and visitation arrangements. Depending on the factors presented to the court, the judge will decide on a custody arrangement. Child custody terms used in Texas are different from the ones most individuals are familiar with.
For example, child custody in Texas is referred to as conservatorship. So, instead of legal custody and physical custody, the Texas court awards managing conservatorship and possessory conservatorship.
What Are the Best Interests of the Child?
Conservatorship in Texas is awarded in the child’s best interest. That term is not entirely subjective since Texas law states what factors are considered when determining a child’s best interests. These factors include, for example, each parent’s financial situation and availability, the quality and safety of the home environment, as well as the proximity of the parent’s home to school or friends.
Texas courts prefer to keep both parents involved in a child’s life. However, the judge will ultimately decide whether to grant joint managing conservatorship between both parents or one parent and another guardian, such as a grandparent, or sole managing conservatorship to one parent.
Types of Child Custody Arrangements
Managing conservatorship or legal custody refers to a parent’s role in making crucial decisions about the child’s life, including their educational, medical, cultural, and religious needs. Texas child custody laws presume that both parents should have joint managing conservatorship.
However, if one parent’s behavior threatens the child’s well-being in any way, a sole managing conservatorship is awarded. Threatening behavior can involve parents’ alcohol issues, abuse, or other reasons.
The Texas family law gives parents a lot of freedom when it comes to possessory conservatorship or physical custody. They can set the terms when the child will stay with each of them and when the other parent with whom the child isn’t living will have the chance to visit the child. However, if the parents have joint managing conservatorship, that doesn’t mean they will have equal possessory time with the child.
If parents can agree on a schedule, the court can intervene. But bear in mind that not allowing the other parent access to the child without a court order can result in serious consequences.
How Can Child Custody Attorneys Help?
Even after the issue of your child or children’s custody is settled, your legal issues may continue.
The court can require you to consult with each other prior to any major decisions being made for your child. Any disagreements along the way may be resolved by going to mediation, returning to court, or by one parent being awarded final decision-making power. This authority may be broad or limited to emergency situations, or be specifically related to certain areas of the child’s life.
Whether the child custody issues you face are the initial determination of physical or legal custody, a court battle over custody, or ongoing custodial issues, our law firm can provide highly experienced advice and advocacy.
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