A Guide to Child Custody in Texas: Protecting Your Children’s Best Interests

Are you going through a tough situation with your partner and struggling to reach an agreement on child custody in Texas? It’s an emotional process, but it’s important to make sure that the well-being of your children is protected above all else. 

In this guide, we’ll provide you with valuable information on how child custody in Texas works and what steps you can take to ensure that your children’s best interests are taken care of. Keep reading for expert advice on navigating this challenging time and how a Texas child custody lawyer can help you secure a positive outcome for both yourself and your little ones.

Overview of Child Custody in Texas

When it comes to child custody, Texas courts follow the best interests of the child standard. This means that when making a custody determination, the court will consider various factors related to the child’s well-being. Some of the factors the court may consider include:

  • The child’s physical and emotional needs
  • Each parent’s ability to meet those needs
  • The child’s relationship with each parent and other family members
  • The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community
  • The wishes of the child’s parents
  • The wishes of the child, if he or she is old enough and able to express a preference

It is important to note that the court is not required to give equal weight to each factor. The court will simply consider all relevant factors to make a custody determination that is in the best interests of the child.

Types of Child Custody

There are two types of child custody in Texas: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to where the child will live, while legal custody refers to who will make decisions about the child’s schooling, medical care, and religion. 

The court may award joint physical custody, meaning the child will reside with both parents or sole physical custody, meaning the child will reside with only one parent. The court will consider many factors when deciding about physical custody, including the parent’s work schedules and the child’s age and health. 

The court may also award joint legal custody, meaning both parents will have a say in decision-making, or sole legal custody, meaning only one parent will have a say in decision-making. Again, the court will consider various factors when deciding about legal custody, including the parents’ ability to communicate and cooperate. 

It is important to note that even if one parent is awarded sole physical or legal custody, the other parent still has rights. For instance, the noncustodial parent usually has the right to visitation or parenting time with his or her child.

How Texas Courts Decide Custody

The best interests of the child are always a top priority for the court when making decisions about child custody in Texas. Texas courts will consider many factors when making custody decisions, but the child’s wishes will always be given significant weight. 

Texas child custody attorney

In addition, the court will always consider what is in the best interests of the child when making any decisions about visitation or other aspects of the parenting plan.

Texas law requires that courts consider the following aspects when making custody decisions:

  • The child’s wishes, if the child is old enough to express a preference
  • The parent’s ability to provide a stable and loving home environment for the child
  • The parent’s ability to cooperate and communicate with each other regarding the care of the child
  • Each parent’s work schedule and whether it will allow for quality time with the child
  • The mental and physical health of each parent and whether they can care for the child

Steps For Filing an Appeal

When you and the other parent of your child or children cannot agree on a custody arrangement, you may have to turn to the courts for help. If you are not happy with the final decision made by the court, you do have the right to file an appeal. Here are the steps you need to take to file an appeal: 

  1. You will need to file a notice of appeal with the court that made the original ruling within 30 days of the date that the ruling was issued. 
  2. The notice of appeal must be filed with the clerk of that court, and it must state the specific grounds on which you are basing your appeal. 
  3. Once the notice is filed, the clerk will then send copies to all attorneys involved in the case, as well as any other parties who might be affected by an overturning of the original ruling. 
  4. After receiving the notice of appeal, those involved will have 14 days to file what is called a “statement of points” – basically, this is their response to your notice of appeal and their reasoning for why they believe the original ruling should stand. 
  5. Once all responses have been filed, both sides will then submit written briefs outlining their arguments for why they should win custody (or whatever issue is being appealed). 
  6. After reviewing all written materials, a panel of appeals court judges will then hear oral arguments from both sides before coming to a decision.

Modifications to Court Orders

If you have a current court order in place and believe that modifications are necessary to protect your children’s best interests, you may file a petition for modification with the court. In your petition, you will need to explain why the current arrangement is not working and what specifically needs to be changed. 

If the other parent does not agree to the proposed changes, the court will hold a hearing where both sides can present evidence and argue their respective positions. The court will then decide as to whether or not the modifications are in the best interests of the child and if so, issue an amended order.

A Texas family law attorney can help you file such a petition for modification and advise you on the best course of action.

Call a Seasoned Texas Child Custody Attorney

If you are considering filing for child custody in Texas, it is important to understand the process and what to expect. A Texas child custody attorney can help you navigate the process and ensure that your children’s best interests are protected.

Call 281-519-6087 to schedule a consultation.

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Bolton Law, led by board-certified lawyer Ruby Bolton, handles all types of divorce and family law matters.

With decades of combined experience, our team will work tirelessly to get you the outcome you deserve.