In Texas, determining child custody can be an emotional and confusing process for children and parents alike. What are the Texas child custody laws? What determines a custody agreement in the State? How does someone get sole custody of a child? A Texas child custody lawyer can answer these and other questions. Here is a starting point for having a discussion with such an attorney about child custody in the Lone Star State.
DEFINING LEGAL CHILD CUSTODY IN TEXAS
In Texas, child custody is divided into two main categories: the amount of time spent with a child is referred to as “possession” or “access,” while the ability to make decisions for the child as “conservatorship.” Possession/access (also known as visitation) deals with physical custody; conservatorship deals with legal custody.
Texas laws governing conservatorship and possession/access are set forth in Title 5, Chapter 153 of the Texas Family Code.
Conservatorship determines the rights and duties required of each parent with respect to their child(ren). There are two types of conservatorship in Texas: sole managing conservatorship and joint managing conservatorship. Sole managing conservatorship means that one parent has the exclusive right to make decisions about the upbringing of his or her child, while joint managing conservatorship means that both parents share in the decision-making. A Texas family court judge makes the decision in cases where parents cannot negotiate custody arrangements without legal mediation.
Of course, the primary thing the court will consider when determining child custody in Texas is the best interest of the child(ren) involved. In making a conservatorship determination, the court will assess a variety of factors that may include the following:
- The emotional and physical needs of the child(ren),
- The ability of each parent to meet the needs of the child(ren),
- The plans of each parent for education and medical care of the child(ren),
- The safety and stability of each parent’s home environment,
- The preferences of the child(ren),
- and others.
It is important to note that the State of Texas encourages both parents to have a relationship with their child(ren); so the court will generally order a joint managing conservatorship unless there is evidence that it would not be in the best interest of the child(ren). Whether the court grants sole or joint managing conservatorship depends on the specific circumstances in each case.
For more information regarding child custody in Texas, you can access the text of the related Family Code online, at the official website for Texas State Statutes.
A child custody legal battle is one of the most stressful experiences a parent can face. A Texas child custody lawyer can help parents understand the law and how it might apply in specific cases. Reach out to McAllen, Texas-based attorney Manuel “Manny” Guerra of Guerra Law Firm, P.C. if you are in need of a caring and competent child custody lawyer offering free consultations. As a child custody lawyer in Texas, Manny Guerra understands the ins and outs of family law; you can trust him to help you with your child custody case. Contact Guerra Law Firm, P.C. online or by calling 956-948-7267.