Child custody, otherwise referred to as conservatorship in Texas is perhaps one of the most contested and stressful aspects of any divorce. If parents are unable to come to an agreement, it will be up to the court to settle the matter. Court proceedings, unfortunately, take a long time to reach a conclusion and will likely dredge up a lot of negative feelings as parents battle to win custody.
Lengthy custody negotiations might be hard on the parents, but the effects on the children can be even worse. However, it is a necessary step to ensure that the children are properly cared for and have a stable home once the divorce is finalized. That’s why you need an experienced child custody lawyer in New Caney to ensure that the process is done as efficiently and fairly as possible.
Are There Different Types of Child Custody Agreements in Texas?
Child custody in Texas can be arranged in several different ways. Both parents may enjoy equal custody after the divorce, or just one parent can have sole custody. The court usually arranges this after evaluating the parents and their relationship with the children. The court also evaluates whether or not parents could work together in a joint custody relationship.
Parents in Texas have 2 options for child custody agreements:
- Sole Managing Conservatorship (Sole Custody)
- Joint Managing Conservatorship (Joint Custody)
Sole Managing Conservatorship
A parent that’s appointed sole managing conservatorship is responsible for making critical decisions concerning the child.
Sole managing conservatorship is usually awarded in situations where the behavior of one parent threatens the well-being of the child in some form. This can be from alcohol or drug issues, abuse, neglect, or other reasons.
Still, the parent that seeks to be made the sole managing conservator is required to specifically plead it in their petition to the court, which should be accompanied by an affidavit that outlines the allegations to support the claim that they should be awarded sole managing conservatorship.
If the court awards sole managing conservatorship, the parent who is awarded sole custody is usually given the exclusive rights to make decisions regarding the child while the other parent may have supervised or restricted visitation rights.
Joint Managing Conservatorship
Joint managing conservatorship is a very general term that means that both parents share duties, rights, and physical possession of the child. Any parenting plan that isn’t sole managing conservatorship likely falls under the umbrella of joint managing conservatorship.
Joint custody can take various formats when it comes to physical possession, which may include week-on/week-off, 3/2/2, 50/50, among various other options. It can take many forms for duties and rights.
If you believe that a particular child custody arrangement is the best option for your family, our New Caney child custody lawyers at Bolton Law will help present your case before the court and establish custody agreements between you and the other parent. Call us today at 281-351-7897 to learn more.
How Does the Texas Family Court Determine Child Custody?
In all child custody cases, the priority of the Texas Family Court is the best interests of the child. To that end, here are some of the factors considered by the courts during child custody cases:
- The physical and mental health of each parent
- The behavior of the parents surrounding the child
- The conduct of the parents during the custody dispute
- The stability of each parent’s home
- The child’s testimony (if he/she is old enough to have input on the case)
- Witness testimony (if any exists)
If either parent has a history of abuse, convictions, or domestic violence, the said parent may not be awarded legal custody. Instead, he/she may only have limited visitation with their children until the court believes that they no longer pose a danger to the children.
Can We Create a Child Custody Plan Without the Court’s Involvement in Texas?
Yes. You can create a child custody plan without involving the court in Texas and there are actually 2 main options available to you:
- Informal Negotiations
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
Informal negotiations can be an excellent idea if you and your ex are still on speaking terms. It usually works best in situations where there’s little animosity and a great deal of mutual agreement on what’s ideal for the child or children.
During informal investigations, you and your ex will have to agree on things such as custody and visitation rights. You will also have to hash out things such as where the child is to spend holidays, birthdays, etc. After agreeing on the details, you can then draft an agreement together.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
If the situation is such that you can’t sit down with your ex and come to an amicable agreement, you may want to look into Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). ADR allows you to negotiate a custody agreement with or without the assistance of lawyers.
The 2 most common types of ADR are:
- Collaborative Family Law
Child custody mediation is a commonly used approach for resolving child custody agreements without involving the courts. Parents are often advised to attempt mediation before taking child custody battles to court. During a child custody mediation, a mediator attempts to help both parents reach an agreement that serves the child’s best interests.
Collaborative Family Law
Under collaborative law, there’s an overarching commitment to reach a resolution. If you opt to reach a child custody agreement under collaborative law, you and your co-parent are permitted to have a lawyer present.
The lawyers representing you and your co-parent are placed in the same room. This guides them to reach a resolution together as opposed to creating more conflict. It is a much more peaceful and collaborative process than court proceedings.
Whichever route you decide to take, whether it is mediation, informal negotiation, or collaborative law, a parenting plan should be the outcome. A parenting plan is essentially a proposed custody agreement that you, your co-parent, or any other professionals involved, such as a mediator or your lawyers draft.
Once you have created a parenting plan, it still has to be signed by a judge to make it legally binding. After submitting it to the court, the judge goes over it to determine whether it is in the best interests of the child. If that’s the case, they will sign it and once this happens, it becomes a court order, enforceable by law.
You should always consult with the skilled and knowledgeable child custody lawyers at Bolton Law in New Caney, TX before you sign any child custody agreements. Our experienced lawyers will ensure that the agreement is considerate of your child’s best interest and your own and it follows the law. We will also help you present the custody arrangement to the court for approval.
What If the Parents Cannot Agree on Any Aspect of Child Custody in Texas?
Texas Family Court generally prefers that parents share responsibility and act fairly when it comes to raising their child or children above all else. In some situations, however, it is simply not possible for divorcing or separating parents to reach an agreement on where their children should live.
If parents are unable to reach a consensus regarding primary custody or managing conservatorship, the court or either parent can step in and obtain orders to protect the best interest of the child. Having a skilled child custody lawyer in New Caney such as those at Bolton Law representing you is crucial.
If left to a family court judge to decide, the result might not be what either you or your ex hoped for. Our child custody lawyers are skilled negotiators who will work with the lawyers representing your ex to reach an amicable agreement that serves your interests and is in your child’s best interests too.
Contact an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in New Caney, TX!
The pursuit of child custody in New Caney, TX is often highly emotional and stressful for any parent. Child custody cases may easily become contentious and this may end up placing unwarranted stress on both child and parent.
You are a devoted parent, which is why you need a good child custody lawyer who will help you obtain the best outcome possible to ensure that your child or children are raised in a stable and loving environment.
Experience is usually the deciding factor when hiring a lawyer for your child custody case. Fortunately, that’s something we have plenty of at Bolton Law in New Caney, Texas. Call us today at 281-351-7897 to schedule a consultation with our experienced lawyers.