Child Custody Lawyer for The Woodlands
A child custody lawyer in The Woodlands often plays an important role in defining your child custody agreement. As such, they play an important role in defining the structure of your weeks, weekends and vacations, your child(ren)’s routine, and your child(ren)’s overall best interests. These are high-stakes decisions that shouldn’t be made lightly; you need a Woodlands child custody lawyer you can trust.
Grimes & Fertitta are highly respected child custody lawyers for The Woodlands and Houston residents. We have helped hundreds of families in the Greater Houston area, including Montgomery County. Together, we form the foundations of compromise upon which a strong child custody agreement can be built. And in cases where compromise would endanger the physical or mental health of the child(ren), we work with the family until a solution is found that keeps the child(ren) safe.
Learn more about the rules and regulations surrounding child custody in The Woodlands and what The Woodlands family law attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta can do to help with your child custody case.
How child custody is determined in Montgomery County, Harris County, and Texas
If you and your ex-partner or spouse cannot come to an agreement regarding child custody, you still have options. You may either request to participate in mediation or request that the court intervenes via a trial. Should the latter situation be needed for deciding either legal and physical child custody and visitation, then the court determines both parties’ rights to possession and access.
When making these decisions, the court takes into account several factors, including:
- Demonstrated parenting skills and who was previously the child’s primary caregiver
- Parenting fitness (with regard to a history of violence, physical force, or abuse) as well as false reports of child abuse
- A parent’s plans for their children
- The current level of cooperation between each parent
- The desire or need to keep siblings together
- The preference of the child (should the child be 12 years of age or older).
At Grimes & Fertitta, we help our clients gather the evidence necessary to demonstrate the role they play in the life of their children. Typically, however, we recommend keeping regular documentation (such as a calendar or notes) that demonstrate your participation in your child’s activities and interests.
Types of child custody arrangements in Texas
In Texas, the issue of child custody comes with its own set of vocabulary and its own means of organization. For one, Texas splits issues of child custody into two different categories: that of conservatorship, and that of possession and access.
In Texas, child custody is referred to as conservatorship, thus making parents “conservators” instead of “custodians.” Texas allows for two types of conservatorship: Sole Managing Conservatorship and Joint Managing Conservatorship.
Sole Managing Conservatorship: Should a parent earn sole managing conservatorship of their child, that means that they have the sole right to make decisions regarding the child’s needs and future. They choose where the child lives, the type of education the child receives, the type of medical treatment they may have, religious activities etc. Note that when one parent is the sole managing conservator, the other parent still has the right to visitation.
Joint Managing Conservatorship: Unless circumstances indicate otherwise, Texas law maintains that Joint Managing Conservatorship is more in the best interest of the child than Sole Managing Conservatorship. Should parents have Joint Managing Conservatorship, they share the responsibility of making decisions for their children. However, should the court deem it necessary, it may dole out some (or all) particular decisions to specific parents. Parents may then have a mix of decisions they may make jointly, exclusively, or independently.
Possession and access
Possession and access refers to who has physical custody of the child as well as visitation rights. When possible, it’s best for parents to work together to agree on their own schedule, but in the event that parents are unable to come to an agreement, the court will intervene.
Texas has two standard possession schedules: standard possession orders (SPO) and expanded possession orders (E-SPO). Each possession schedule comes with a detailed calendar. Calendars vary according to the distance between the residences of each parent (less or more than 100 miles). Calendars can be adjusted by the court to fit the needs of each family.
Child custody options: Modifications and a child’s stated preference
Child custody agreements are not necessarily set in stone. Should you or your child’s other parent face a significant change in circumstances, you may wish to modify your child custody agreement.
Reasons parents request child custody agreement modifications include but are not limited to:
- A parent wishes to relinquish custody of a child voluntarily
- A parent is experiencing heightened issues with alcohol or other substances
- Abusive behavior on the part of the other parent
- A parent has moved, taken a new job, or remarried
- Either the child or a parent begins having medical issues
- Military deployment
- You are being barred from seeing your child
When they turn 12, children may also petition to live with one parent over the other. While the ultimate decision is left in the hands of the judge, it’s important to keep in mind that judges will take your child’s statements seriously.
Reasons to consider working with a child custody attorney in The Woodlands
At Grimes & Fertitta, we work closely with you to help preserve your children’s best interests. Our family lawyers in Houston and The Woodlands are experienced in a vast array of family law matters, whether you need a divorce attorney, property division lawyer, prenup lawyer or, more to the point, a child custody lawyer in The Woodlands.
In particular, parents may wish to have the strategic advantage of a child custody attorney in The Woodlands if their child custody case involves:
- Children with special needs
- Child custody across state lines
- Modification of child custody agreements
- High profile parents or parents with high-value assets
- Substance abuse
- Physical or mental abuse
- Unsafe living conditions
- Unpredictable working hours or frequent job changes
- Frequent moves
Of course, even the simplest divorces are hardly simple. Even if you just want to make sure that your child custody agreement comes together as smoothly as possible, Grimes & Fertitta is here for you. We will work in the best interest of your child, whether that means aiming to keep your mothers’ rights, fathers’ rights, and grandparents’ rights, or fighting to protect the safety of your child by reducing the access of another party.
Working with Grimes & Fertitta: Child custody lawyers for The Woodlands and Houston
If you and your former spouse or partner are struggling to agree on any or all aspects of child custody, we strongly encourage you to consider working with a Grimes & Fertitta child custody lawyer in The Woodlands. Once retained, we can put our years of family law experience in motion. We help you negotiate child custody issues while keeping the best interests of your child(ren) at heart.
From navigating the process of proving your active relationship with your child, to fighting to your right for sole or joint conservatorship, to child custody agreement modification and more, you will be able to experience the difference of working with a truly dedicated and conscientious family law firm.
Ready to resolve your child custody battle? Work with a child custody lawyer in The Woodlands who will never treat you (or your kids) like just another case number. Call Grimes & Fertitta at 713-224-7644 or contact us online to schedule your consultation today.
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