Most parents will go to all ends to do what is best for their families especially when children are involved. Child custody is a sensitive issue because it is likely to drain you emotionally and financially.
But, it doesn’t have to be all stressful. At Bolton Law in The Woodlands, Texas, our attorneys have decades of experience in family law. We take time to understand our clients’ situations and concerns to come up with informed and wise decisions. We consider many factors and try to develop a sensible plan.
It is crucial to work with an experienced child custody lawyer in The Woodlands. Bolton Law will give you the best legal counsel and guide you on the full range of child custody issues including:
- Determining child custody for the first time
- Legal and physical custody
- Modification of existing custody orders
- Enforcement of child custody orders
- Establishing child visitation and access schedules
All in all, we will help you do what is best – emotionally, financially, legally, and interpersonally for you and your family. Our family law attorneys are soft enough to care and hard enough to take on tough cases and win. Being parents ourselves, we understand that these kinds of cases can take a toll on not only the children involved but also their parents.
Call 281-351-7897 to speak to a child custody lawyer in The Woodlands, Texas.
Are There Different Types of Child Custody Agreements in Texas?
In a nutshell, legal custody refers to when a parent has the right to raise the child and decide the child’s medical needs, and cultural, educational, and religious upbringing. Physical custody on the other hand refers to possession and access.
In Texas, things are a little different. That is according to the Texas Family Code which uses unconventional terms to describe legal and physical custody. First off, the term custody itself is referred to as conservatorship in Texas.
So, rather than using the terms “legal custody” and “physical custody,” Texas law uses the terms “managing conservatorship” and “possessory conservatorship” instead.
Don’t get it twisted though. While these terms are exclusive to Texas, the basic concepts are pretty similar to the more conventional terms.
Legal Custody (Managing Conservatorship)
Legal custody, or managing conservatorship as Texans would prefer to call it, refers to the role of a parent in making all important decisions about the child’s life such as how the child will be raised, where they will get an education, the religion they will practice, the medication or treatment they will receive, and the activities they will partake in.
According to Texas laws, there needs to be input from both parents when making critical decisions regarding the child’s life. But, if the court finds that joint managing conservatorship is not in the best interest of the child, it can hand the conservatorship to one parent.
This usually happens when the decision-making ability of one of the parents has been compromised. You might see this in situations where there is a history of child abuse or domestic violence or instances of untreated drug or alcohol abuse.
Physical Custody (Possessory Conservatorship)
The law gives parents a lot of leeway when it comes to physical custody or what is better known as possessory conservatorship by Texans. Parents have the freedom to set the terms of when the child will live with each parent, and when the parent with whom the child isn’t living will have the opportunity to spend time with the child.
If the parents can’t agree on a schedule, the law provides a standard possession order that details how much time each parent will have with the child. The details of the possession order are contingent on how far the parents live from each other. Also, the standard possession order isn’t applicable to children under three years.
Bear in mind that a joint managing conservatorship doesn’t automatically mean the parents will have equal or almost equal possessory time with or access to the child.
If the court feels the standard possession order isn’t suitable in a certain case, it can modify the terms. Judges can put constraints on possession orders if they believe it’s for the child’s or parent’s safety or well-being. For instance, the court can restrict a parent from drinking alcohol prior to and when spending time with the child.
If a judge establishes that a parent is unfit to be left alone with a child, they can supply a supervised possession order. This order allows the parent to be around the child only when there is a third party present.
Be advised that wrongfully denying access to a child in violation of a court order can land you in trouble. If your spouse is refusing to abide by a court order about custody, our attorneys can help you file a motion for enforcement.
How Does Texas Family Court Determine Child Custody?
When making decisions in any child custody dispute, the best interest of the child is crucial. In Texas, the law specifically states that family courts need to consider the best interest of the child when determining possession of and access to the child and conservatorship.
Courts in Texas consider the following factors in custody decisions:
- The child’s wishes
- The child’s current and future emotional and physical needs
- Any immediate and future emotional and physical danger to the child
- Each parent’s parental abilities
- The custody programs available to assist parents who want to contribute to the best interests of their child
- Each parent’s plan for their child
- The stability of the home
- Any actions or inactions that may indicate that the parents don’t have the capacity for a proper parent-child relationship, and
- Any justifications the parents may have for those actions and inactions.
The term “the best interest of the child” doesn’t necessarily mean the child’s preference is irrevocable in court. Apart from certain circumstances, the court will have the final say on which parent will live with the child, or whether the child can spend time with a parent until the child turns 18.
At Bolton Law, we can help you get a favorable verdict. Our child custody lawyers can pursue actions to ensure you get custody of your child. We can also help you get an existing order modified if your family’s circumstances change.
Can We Create a Child Custody Plan Without the Court’s Involvement in Texas?
In Texas, a child custody plan is known as a parenting plan. This document addresses how disputes involving children – like child support, possession, and conservatorship – will be dealt with after a family law case.
If you and your spouse are calling it quits, whether, through separation or divorce, it’s essential that you come up with a child custody plan. No matter how bad things are between you and your partner, you need to put that animosity aside and prioritize your children.
Instead of letting the court decide what’s best for your family, you need to go the extra mile to make mutual parenting plans with your partner.
A good child custody plan will help set the tone for a good post-divorce relationship. You and your ex-partner can discuss the primary challenges that you will endure. A nicely written parenting agreement outlines the schedule including the responsibilities of each parent in the children’s upbringing.
Some parents may have a shared custody agreement that lets the child have frequent contact with each parent half of the time. Other parenting plans may limit one parent’s contact to weekends and maybe an overnight or mid-week visit.
There will be fewer conflicts and misunderstandings when parents mutually agree on an appropriate plan. It is advised to come up with a parenting agreement that puts your child’s best interest into consideration.
You don’t need to involve a court when creating your child custody plan. But, you need to have your attorney present when signing any documents. While you don’t need to involve the court when creating the plan, the court will need to verify that your parenting plan fulfills the best interest of the children.
The child custody attorneys at Bolton Law are conversant with child custody matters. We can help you come up with a parenting plan that works for each parent and prioritizes the children’s needs.
What if the Parents Cannot Agree on Any Aspect of Child Custody in Texas?
If the parents fail to reach an agreement, they can request a trial. The court will then determine parental agreements. Alternatively, the parents can partake in mediation to come up with an appropriate child custody plan.
Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in The Woodlands
While child custody is a complex issue, deciding the best lawyer to advocate for you and your children can complicate matters even more.
Bolton Law offers the best child custody and child support lawyers in The Woodlands, Texas. No matter the situation, our seasoned child custody, and support lawyers are here to take your call at 281-351-7897. You can also contact us online.
You can trust our attorneys to find the best resolution for you and your children. We give you no reason to worry or hesitate since consultations are confidential. Your attorney will inform you of all the payment options during your consultation.
If you are in the Woodlands or surrounding areas, our child custody attorneys are here and ready to assist you.