As Houston custody lawyers, we know that to a parent going through a divorce, nothing is more important than protecting your relationship with your kids. Properties and possessions are one thing, but you can’t put a price on the custody of your children.If you’re in the midst of a child custody battle, it’s crucial that you work with an experienced Houston custody lawyer to help you acquire a fair custody and visitation agreement.
Whether your spouse is seeking an unfair custody agreement or you are interested in pursuing custody modifications, the Houston child custody lawyers at Grimes & Fertitta are here to help you reach a solution that’s best for your child.
In Texas, the court has sole discretion in determining custody and visitation arrangements, all of which are decided based on the best interest of your child(ren).
Depending on the factors presented to them by you, your spouse, and your respective legal counsel, the judge will ultimately decide whether or not to grant sole managing conservatorship to one parent or joint managing conservatorship to be split between you, your former spouse, or other guardians including grandparents.
A child’s best interest isn’t entirely subjective or up to the judge’s tastes. Section 154.004 of the Texas Family Code outlines a number of factors related to a child’s best interests and what is considered, including:
Keep in mind that Texas courts prefer to keep both spouses involved in a child’s life, if possible. That way, the child has the chance of establishing a relationship with both their parents.
The court will take into consideration whether or not a parent is considered unfit when determining custody and visitation agreements. But who is considered an unfit parent in Texas?
According to Texas law, an unfit parent is one who will not or cannot provide the conditions necessary for a child to maintain physical and/or emotional health. These unsafe conditions include physical abuse, emotional abuse, drug addiction, criminal behavior, unsafe living conditions, or any other behavioral/environmental factors that could be dangerous to a child in your custody.
Accusing a parent of being unfit requires the careful collection of evidence documenting patterns of abuse and neglect — evidence a skilled Houston custody lawyer can either help collect or rebut, depending on your circumstances.
While the courts often prefer that parents find a way to work things out, some parents seek sole conservatorship, also known as sole custody. A parent who wins sole conservatorship of their child will have full legal and physical custody of their child and is therefore fully responsible for all decisions made on their childhood’s behalf.
Any child over 12 is allowed to choose whether or not they would like to live with one parent full time, so long as that parent can be proven to be a fit guardian in the eyes of the law.
In order to win sole custody of your child(ren) in Texas, you must prove that your spouse is an unfit parent or that it is otherwise in the best interest of your child to live solely with you for any of the reasons listed above.
In Texas, a parent with sole custody of the child may also be eligible to receive child support payments from the non-custodial parent to help fulfill the child’s needs.
Joint managing conservatorship, also known as joint custody, is often considered an ideal solution as it allows children to enjoy time with both parents. As established by the court, joint managing conservatorship agreements provide terms for when and where a child will spend time with each parent.
In joint custody agreements, both parents play a role in major decisions made on their child’s behalf, including schools, medical care, religious activities, and extracurricular activities during their time with the child.
When determining a joint custody agreement, the judge is responsible for deciding the child’s primary residence, or the home where they will spend most of their time. The parent whose home is chosen is designated as the primary conservator, making the other parent the non-custodial conservator.
In Texas, the non-custodial conservator may be required to pay child support depending on the terms of the settlement.
After the initial divorce, it may be possible to modify your custody agreement based on changing circumstances in you, your ex-spouse, and/or your child’s life. Obtaining a child custody modification requires proving that these changes affect your child and their best interests. Changes that could lead to a custody modification include:
Obtaining fair custody and visitation agreements is more likely with a strong case and representation from an experienced Houston child custody attorney.
Whether you are seeking a Houston divorce lawyer for dads, a custody modification lawyer, or just an attorney to help you with every aspect of your divorce, the team at Grimes & Fertitta are here to help you reach an agreement that’s fair and beneficial for you and your child.
We see the lives behind all the legal paperwork and work closely with you to ensure that you and your family are treated fairly.
Don’t let your ex-spouse decide whether or not you will have a relationship with your children. See where you stand and explore your options by calling Grimes & Fertitta at 713-224-7644 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.