Bellaire Child Custody Lawyers Assisting Clients Facing a Child Custody Battle
Determining child custody arrangements can be an emotional process in which having a seasoned attorney on your side may be extremely important. If you are currently going through a child custody battle, or have initiated a divorce and want to be prepared to take the right steps in getting shared or full custody of your child, it is essential to understand how child custody works in Texas and how decisions are made concerning which parent has rights over the child.
How Does Child Custody Work in Texas?
Decisions regarding child custody in Texas are always made with the child’s best interests in mind. In many cases, parents seeking “joint custody” do not necessarily get a 50-50 parenting schedule.
Unless there is a history of family violence involving the child’s parents, the courts understand that appointing both parents as joint managing conservators is in the best interests of the child. The court will then determine the legal rights and duties of each parent, and which aspects concerning the child need to be agreed upon by both parents. The court can then set a parenting schedule determining when the non-custodial parent will be allowed to spend time with the child. The schedule can be set by the court or mutually agreed upon by both parents.
How Does a Judge Decide Who Gets Legal Custody in Texas?
There are many factors used to determine whether a parent will get sole or joint custody of a child. A judge will typically make decisions based on what is best for the child, and unless a parent can prove otherwise, joint custody is usually given preference by the court. When deciding who the child should live with, a judge will look at factors such as the history of contact and relationship between the child and each of the parents, the health and safety of the child, the health of the parents and their financial situation, and any history of neglect or abuse by either parent.
The parenting schedule will also be decided following similar legal standards. A judge will determine a schedule that is best for the child, regardless of what type of arrangement is best for or preferred by the parents. At this stage, an attorney can be helpful as he or she can argue that the parenting schedule you are proposing is indeed in the best interests of the child.
Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With in a Custody Case?
Parents of children 12 years old or older can request that the child be interviewed by the court to express his or her preference as to where they want to live. While the court will hear the child’s preference and consider it among the many factors used to make a decision, the child cannot legally choose which parent they want to live with until they are 18.
Courts understand that children sometimes may want to live with either parent for the wrong reasons, or may not have the emotional maturity to make important life choices. For that reason, the final word concerning which parent the child will live with is up to the court.
How Can a Child Custody Attorney Help Me?
Being well-prepared and ready to show the court that you are capable of providing a safe and stable home for your child while caring for his or her best interests is important to help you get a better chance of a favorable outcome in a custody case. But when your child’s well-being and your ability to participate in his or her life is in question, it can be extremely difficult to keep a clear mind and take the right steps. At ALP Law Firm, we help parents facing custody battles by applying our knowledge of the law and our negotiation skills to reach a positive outcome. Reach out to our qualified child custody lawyer in Bellaire and request a consultation to see how we can help.