There are a lot of things to consider and put in place when it comes to child custody cases, whether the divorcing parents or the non-married couples are involved or not.
Divorce can raise high emotions because they involve children whose lives, well-being and future hang in the balance.
Family courts over the years have come to take up the role of the ‘guardian’ by prioritizing the children and every one of their needs in any family law matter that they are involved.
Child Custody in Texas: The Basics
For child custody cases, there is nothing like a set or systematic rule. Every case is unique, and for every dispute or custody agreement, there is a need for an individualized assessment by both the attorneys representing the parties involved and the family law judge presiding over the case.
It is important to note that some general concepts apply to every custody matter. With the most important to understand being how Texas distinguishes child custody into two categories:
- Conservatorship – Conservatorship involves parental rights and duties. The right to decide on where the child will live, medical care for the child, education and every other important life Decisions. A conservatorship may be ordered in the form of Sole Managing Conservatorship, which connotes that only one parent has the right to make important life decisions for their child. Also, Joint Managing Conservatorship can be employed, and this method is the most preferred custody method in Texas. This arrangement gives both the parents equal say about the choices they make for their kids.
- Possession and Access – Possession and access refers to the way visitations with the parents is structured. In regards to this, the parents will both have to agree on the perfect arrangement for them, and afterward, their agreement will be subjected to the court’s approval. Peradventure the parents are unable to reach an agreement, disputes may have to be resolved through statutory possession and access schedules, such as a Standard Possession Order.
What we do and are used to doing for our clients at our family law attorneys at Jamie Alvarado & Associates is to help them obtain a child custody arrangement and possession schedule which allows them to balance their parenting objectives with real-life obligations. It doesn’t matter if they are unmarried parents, divorcing spouses, or even non-parents like grandparents, step-parents, and other relatives.
Work may involve:
- Helping to obtain temporary orders to address child-related matters in the course of a pending case, or protective orders if family violence or abuse is alleged.
- Enforcing child custody or temporary custody/possession order in the case where the parent violates the ordered terms
- Seeking modifications of custody/possession orders in various instances and circumstantial changes such as parental, job loss, or relocation, etc.
- Looking through available options, creative and practical solutions as well as seeking favorable custody and visitations resolutions in the best interest of the child.
- Negotiations with the parents outside the courtroom, in case they see a reason to compromise or deliberations that can facilitate resolution in case any disagreement.
- Legal action to obtain custody (conservatorship) orders and/or possession schedules if it’s difficult for the parents to agree by themselves or some personal matters are getting in the way.
Factors in Child Custody Cases
Amongst all these situations, the family courts will have to consider certain factors before finalizing on their decision even if the parents were able to reach an agreement. As much as every case is different, the best interest of the child remains the top priority of the court in its determination of conservatorship and possession and access.
Under Section 154.004 of the Texas Family Code, the court will consider the child’s “best interests” regarding any issue or evidence which may arise in a custody case.
The best interest of a child will determine the approach of the court in considering various factors in custody cases, such as:
- The child’s age and their preference (if they are grown and mature enough)
- Physical and emotional needs of the child, including any special needs
- The relationship of the child with each parent/party seeking custody, and the history of their involvement
- The parent’s ability to cooperate, co-parent, and maintain continuity for the child
- The financial, physical and emotional health of each parent
- The parent’s employment and their availability to the child
- The ability of the parent to provide a good home and meet the needs of their child
- Any history of neglect, abuse, violence, or criminal issues that may endanger the child, or require that any visitation, if granted, be supervised
- Every other factor considered to be relevant by the court
When it comes to the final decision of a child’s custody, no single factor can be the determinant. Several things are evaluated by the court in regards to cases, in addition to several other factors and any unique issues of parents or parties involved, to make a final determination.
If you have any Questions? Call Proven El Paso Family Lawyers.
The Texas family courts have the capability to make the right and intelligent decisions when it comes to conservatorship and possession and access, one reason why the need to have an experienced lawyer by your side cannot be overemphasized especially when custody rights are under threat.
Working with a proven attorney can help you evaluate options and strategies, gather needed evidence, and make compelling arguments when needed.
Our family law team is passionate about protecting the rights of parents and non-parents in a range of custody-related matters – from temporary orders, mediation, and litigation to enforcement and modification actions. We also handle matters of stepparent and relative adoptions.
For your custody-related family law matter in El Paso or the surrounding areas of Texas, call (915) 852-0500 or contact us online to request a free initial consultation.