Children’s Custody Lawyers In Texas
During a divorce, couples are often concerned about what will happen to the children after the divorce is finalized. When making child custody decisions, judges in Texas focus on arrangements that will be in the best interests of the child. There are several types of custody that a judge can grant a divorcing couple depending on the circumstances.
An experienced child custody lawyer can help you with child custody issues and guide you when you are seeking a custody modification.
Types Of Child Custody In Texas
Child Custody Attorney In TX
Child custody is referred to as conservatorship while the parents are called conservators. When parents have a disagreement about child custody, one of the legal decisions that they are fighting about is the right to determine the child’s primary residence. The following are the types of conservatorship in Texas:
- Sole managing conservatorship: This means that the Texas Family Code §153.132 rights and duties for the child are exclusively awarded by one parent, such as the right to determine the primary residence for the child, and one parent makes all decisions for the child regarding the child’s medical needs, schooling and other educational decisions, and mental health. The other parent is typically called a possessory parent and has a possession schedule that is as enforceable as a possession schedule in a joint managing conservatorship. Judges normally don’t award this type of custody because courts in Texas typically believe that it is in the best interest of the child for both parents to be involved in decision-making for the child. If there are allegations of family violence, there are presumptions in the Texas Family Code that sole managing conservatorship is presumed to be in the best interest of a child.
- Joint managing conservatorship: In a joint managing conservatorship, typically one parent is awarded the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the child. Usually the right to determine the primary residence of the child is subject to a domicile restriction, which means the area where the child resides with that parent. The other important Tex. Fam. Code 153.132 rights and duties for children are educational decisions, invasive non-emergency medical decisions, and psychological and psychiatric decisions, which can be awarded to the parents jointly which means the parents have to agree on such decisions for their child.
What occurs if the parents don’t or cannot agree on these decisions? Oftentimes, these important decisions, such as educational, or invasive medical decisions can be awarded to each parent with tie breaker provisions in the event the parents don’t have an agreement. Examples of tie-breakers can include one of the parents, sometimes a neutral such as a school counselor for educational decisions, or the parents can be required to abide by the recommendations of the treating physician of the child for medical decisions.
- Temporary orders during a divorce: Temporary Orders are an important part of a divorce and set a precedence for the parties’ divorce. Oftentimes, parties include in their petition for divorce, a motion for temporary orders and a temporary orders hearing is scheduled for the court to make decisions regarding temporary use of the marital residence, appointment of the parents as temporary joint managing conservators, award to a parent the temporary right to determine primary residence of a child, to address a temporary possession schedule of the children, temporary child support, and temporary spousal support.
- Split custody when there are multiple children: Split custody means that each parent obtains conservatorship for a different child if there is more than one child in the marriage. Sometimes there may be circumstances that warrant split custody of children such as siblings that have a lot of conflict, but the policy in the State of Texas is a preference for all children in a family to be together during periods of possession and so split custody of children is fairly rare.
What The Court Considers Before Granting Custody
Texas Child Custody Lawyer
You need an experienced child custody lawyer to help you understand what the court looks at before awarding custody to a parent. The court considers how the parents cared for the children before the divorce was filed in determining child custody. The court will pay attention to how the couples communicate to determine the best interest of the child or whether a spouse that is requesting sole conservatorship is using it to control the other spouse or is being vindictive. The court’s decision regarding conservatorship will be determined by the following factors:
- whether the physical, psychological, or emotional needs and development of the child will benefit from the appointment of joint managing conservators;
- the ability of the parents to give first priority to the welfare of the child and reach shared decisions in the child’s best interest;
- whether each parent can encourage and accept a positive relationship between the child and the other parent;
- whether both parents participated in child rearing before the filing of the divorce;
- the geographical proximity of the parent’s residences; and
- the child’s preference if the child is 12 years of age or older;
Should You Seek Sole Managing Conservatorship?
TX Child Custody Attorneys
You should only seek this option if you are genuinely concerned about the safety of your children, if the children have witnessed family violence, or if there is a history of violence in the family.
What Is A Domicile Restriction On The Primary The Residence Of The Child?
Texas Parental Rights Lawyer
If a parent is awarded the right to designate the primary residence of the child, a domicile restriction is an area where the child resides during and after the divorce until the child is age eighteen and no longer subject to the jurisdiction of the court. A court can either order that the right to determine primary residence of the child is without regard to geographic location or more commonly, the court may establish an area where the residence of the child is to be maintained. Oftentimes, a domicile restriction includes a county or a specific county such as Travis County and contiguous counties, a specific school district, or a specific distance from a location, such as 15 miles from the child’s school. The determination of the domicile restriction is a very important consideration for parents of divorcing children. It is rare for the residence of the child to be allowed to be established in another state that is different from the other parent as Court’s prefer that children have frequent and continuing contact with parents and that is difficult if a parent moves out of state with the child.