Child custody arrangements can be quite devastating for the families involved. To ensure your children remain safe and their best interests are protected, look up custody laws in the state about your case.
Top Texas Child Custody Laws You Should Be Aware Of
Here are some of the top Texas laws pertaining to child custody that you should explore with your lawyer:
Best Interests of The Child
In Texas, child custody is determined according to the best interests of the children involved in a case. Some of the factors courts consider to determine this include:
The child’s safety and health.
The parents’ relationship with one another and their child.
The parents’ health and finances.
History of child abuse, if any.
The residence of the parents and the distance between them.
The significance of the term ‘best interest of the child’ cannot be understated in child custody cases. As per state law, it is the court’s main priority when establishing access to the child. Some of the factors they consider to determine a child's best interests include the following:
The desires of the child.
The parenting capabilities of both parents.
The emotional and physical needs of the child. This includes factors that can endanger both.
The parents' plans for each child and the programs available to them that they can use for their development.
The stability of the child’s home.
Any indication that the parents are reluctant to act may show weakness in their relationship with the child.
The list pertains to a child's wishes, but the court also looks at other aspects to determine child custody. In other words, the children do not have the final say about which parent they have to live with post-divorce and whether they can spend time with the other or not. They can only make that decision once they are 18 years old.
When it comes to child custody decisions, no parent gets preference over the other. This means that children can end up with their father as much as they can with their mother. The decision is based on the child's best interests, including each parent's relationship with their children.
Parenting Time and Parenting Agreements
Most parents don’t get sole custody of their children post-divorce. Texas courts grant both parents some access to them by allowing them to determine parenting time. This is the term that defines how much time either parent spends with their children. The court rarely plays a part in drafting these agreements, but it does have to approve them before they can be put into action.
If the parents cannot decide, the court can determine the clauses in the parenting agreement. In this case, it allows both sides to present their case before making a decision. At this point, ensuring you have a child custody lawyer in your corner will ensure your interests and your family's future remain safe. They can also help you draft your plan and fight for a fair time in court.
Two Types of Child Custody Arrangements
Texas courts can order two types of child custody arrangements or conservatorships:
1. Sole Custody
Sole custody is quite rare. It is awarded to only one parent and allows them to ensure their children stay with them solely. They also have the right to make decisions about the child's upbringing and life. In some cases, the court can also give the other parent possessory conservatorship so they can visit their children.
2. Joint Managing Conservatorship
The court orders this type of child conservatorship when it deems both parents should have a role to play in the child's life. In this case, the parents must create a joint parenting plan to determine how much time they can spend with their child and the times.
Child Conservatorship Orders Can Be Altered
Parents can ask the court to change the conservatorship or access order. To do that, they need to file a petition with the court. However, Texas courts allow modifications only if the changes are in the child's best interests. Some other factors it also considers include the following:
The child is 12 years old or older and wishes to remain with one parent more than the other.
The circumstances of the conservator, i.e. one or both parents and the child, have significantly changed since the date of the current parenting agreement that the court finalized.
The parent who can designate the child's primary residence has given up that right voluntarily and wishes to hand over their care and possession to the other parent for at least six months. However, this doesn’t apply if military service is the reason why the conservator wishes to give up those rights.
The court allows child conservatorship alterations rarely, but if you have a case, your lawyer can help you come up with an appeal that can increase your chances of getting modifications. Remember, your child’s best interests and happiness are tantamount when it comes to these decisions. Once made, it can be years till you are allowed to make another appeal.
Modifying a parenting agreement or fighting for child custody in court can be emotionally and physically draining for any parent. A child custody lawyer can help you navigate the process and ensure your family's future is secure as you start life as a single parent. At this time, you need skilled, compassionate and knowledgeable legal counsel to help you overcome your difficult emotional state and fight for a future you deserve.
Contact Hutson Law for a consultation today! Get a completely confidential consultation outlining the strategy the lawyers will take to handle your case in and out of court.