As emotionally draining as a separation or divorce can be for adults, it’s usually worse for children. In most cases, that’s because one or both parents are so angry at each other, or hurt by the situation, that their parenting ability suffers. As a result, they make choices that put their children squarely in the middle of a bad situation.
What will happen to your child? How will you share custody? What if you don’t agree on custody? At Albin Oldner Law, PLLC, our family law attorneys can tell you from experience that it doesn’t have to be that way.
Custody can be defined as the legal right to have control over a child. Many factors go into custody decisions, but the most important consideration is always what is in the child’s best interest.
Here are some basic laws parents should familiarize themselves with to understand their rights and responsibilities as a separated couple.
Custody is broken up into two parts: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to where the child will live, while legal custody refers to who has the privilege to make decisions about the child’s upbringing. In most cases, custody is awarded to one parent, with the other parent being given visitation rights. However, it is also possible for custody to be split evenly between both parents, also known as joint custody.
In the state of Texas, custody is generally determined in one of two ways: through the agreement of the parents or through a court order. If the parents are able to agree on a custody arrangement, they will submit a proposed parenting plan to the court for approval. If the parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the court will make a custody determination based on the child’s best interests.
The court will consider a few factors when making a custody determination, including the child’s age, the child’s relationship with each parent, and each parent’s work schedule. Ultimately, the goal is to create a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of the child and that will allow the child to have a strong relationship with both parents. Section 153.009 of the Texas Family Code allows children 12 years of age and older to voice their opinions on who they’d rather stay with. This is not an automatic decision but is carefully considered when making decisions.
While it’s ideal to have both parents in their lives, there are times when custody must be awarded to only one parent. There are plenty of reasons why a parent may not gain or lose custody of their child, but some of the most common include abuse, neglect, drug use, and mental health issues.
Cases of abuse or neglect and the child’s safety are of paramount concern; custody will be awarded to the parent who can provide a safe and stable home. If either parent has a history of drug use or mental health issues, the court may determine that they cannot provide adequate care for their child. Ultimately, the custody decision will be made based on what is in the child’s best interests.
Divorce is a tough time for families. Custody can be especially contentious, with parents wanting what is best for their children. If you are going through a divorce and seeking custody of your children, it is crucial to have experienced legal representation on your side.
We know that you want what is best for your child. We do, too. Our Frisco custody lawyers focus on helping moms and dads find a peaceful, private, and dignified way to resolve their custody and parenting time differences. So how do we do that?
When it comes to “conservatorship” in Texas, the court presumes that both parents will serve as “joint managing conservators” of the children. In other words, barring unusual circumstances, parents will typically have joint custody.
However, this does not mean both parents have an equal amount of parenting time or equal decision-making authority. Only one parent can serve as the primary residential parent. You and your co-parent will have to choose, or go to trial and let a judge chose for you. When needed, we help our clients access professional custody evaluators, psychologists, psychiatrists and counselors to assist them in making this challenging decision. Child support will be tied to this living arrangement.
Our firm represents many professional and celebrity parents whose jobs take them away from home regularly. Military families face similar issues. These are tricky situations and solutions are unique to the family and the children.
Read about how we help clients with child relocation on our page about Modifications of Court Orders.
A somewhat related issue is the potential for child abduction. Our community is home to many tech and medical companies that employ highly skilled professionals from other countries. When a divorce occurs in one of these professional families, the American parent may have a concern about children being taken overseas for a visit and not returning. Contact our office to talk about steps you can take to protect your parenting agreement.
Parental alienation occurs when one parent works to undermine the relationship the children have with the other parent. This is tremendously unfair to the children and such hostile and abusive parental behavior can shift the scale in a child custody or parenting time decision.
At Albin Oldner Law, PLLC, we have extensive experience handling custody cases. We understand the importance of custody to both parents and children, and we will work tirelessly to try to get the best possible outcome for your family. We will evaluate your case and develop a custody plan that is in the best interests of your children.
Schedule a time to meet with one of our child custody attorneys in Frisco. We think you’ll enjoy the comfortable, informal atmosphere of our office, and find our lawyers easy to talk to, and ready to explain your legal rights and options.
Full custody or sole custody is possible in Texas, but it isn’t common. Family law judges prefer to let both parents see and raise their children after a divorce if that arrangement is safe and reasonable. Typically, removing one parent from a child’s life can be confusing for the child and damage their development. Although, you could argue for full custody if you can prove that it is not in your child’s best interests – or would be physically dangerous – for your ex-spouse to get any custody rights.
Child custody order modifications are possible if the current order is no longer tenable and makes undue hardships for you and your child. A petition to modify the order can be filed with the same court that approved the original order or divorce order unless the child has moved to a new county. As with the original order, the court will only approve a modification if it will benefit the child’s best interests. It will not approve of an order only to benefit a parent.
Legal custody or conservatorship in Texas gives a parent the right to make important decisions for their child after divorce. It also bestows certain parental duties. Many people see it as being given the right to keep raising your child as you see fit after divorce. If this is important to you, then be sure to hire a child custody lawyer for your case.
Physical custody or possession and access in Texas gives a parent the right to spend time with and share a home with their child after divorce. Naturally, courts usually give physical custody rights to a parent who also has legal custody. The court will also only approve a physical custody arrangement if it would meet the child’s best interests.
Yes, it is hard to win full custody in Texas. The Texas Family Code presumes that it is in a child’s best interest to have a relationship with both parents. Therefore, the court will only award sole custody to one parent if it finds that it is not in the child’s best interest for the child to have a relationship with the other parent.
To win full custody in Texas, you will need to show the court that it is not in the child’s best interest to have a relationship with the other parent. This can be difficult, as the court will give the other parent the benefit of the doubt. You must present evidence that the other parent has a history of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. You may also need to present evidence that the other parent is not fit due to factors such as substance abuse, mental illness, or criminal history.
If you are considering seeking full custody of your child in Texas, speaking with an attorney who can help you understand the process and protect your rights is essential.