Child Custody A Legacy of Excellence in Family Law

Child Custody Lawyers in Bellaire, TX

Advocating for Your Parental Rights in Houston & Harris County

Child custody is often the most emotional and contentious issue in a divorce or post-divorce dispute. As a parent, you may fear losing control over maintaining the full scope of your parental rights. You may also fear a compromised relationship with your

This is common, as factors such as differing parenting styles, geographical distance, work schedules and responsibilities, and the emotional strain of divorce can increase tensions and complicate parenting plans. These factors often make reaching a satisfactory mutual agreement with your spouse or ex-spouse difficult. 

At ALP Law Firm, we understand that determining child custody arrangements can be emotional. That is why having a seasoned attorney can be extremely important. If you have initiated a divorce and want to be prepared to take the proper steps to secure shared or full custody, you must understand how the courts operate. This also applies to those facing a post-divorce custody battle. 

Secure the advice and guidance of a Bellaire child custody attorney at ALP Law Firm. Call (346) 536-9842 or reach us online for a consultation - Hablamos español.

How Does Child Custody Work in Texas? 

Texas uses the terms "conservatorship" and "possession" to define child custody arrangements.

  • Conservatorship: Refers to the legal decision-making authority regarding the child's upbringing, including education, medical care, and religious instruction.
  • Sole managing conservatorship: One parent has sole authority for making decisions.
  • Joint managing conservatorship: Both parents share decision-making authority.
  • Possession: Refers to the child's physical living arrangements and visitation schedules. Texas has standard possession schedules, but parents can create a modified plan that best suits their situation.

Decisions regarding child custody in Texas are always made with the child’s best interests in mind. Parents seeking “joint custody” often do not necessarily get a 50-50 parenting schedule.

Unless a history of family violence involving the child’s parents exists, the courts view joint managing conservatorship as being in the best interests of the child. The court will then determine each parent's legal rights and duties and which aspects concerning the child must 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 court can set the schedule, or parents can mutually agree on one. Mutual agreement can be made through negotiation or mediation, which allows for a more amicable and personalized agreement. 

The court must approve these arrangements to ensure they meet legal standards and serve the child's best interests. Parents are generally required to submit a "parenting plan" as part of their custody agreement. 

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Parenting Plans in Texas

A well-drafted parenting plan in Texas should comprehensively address several key aspects of your child's life after separation. 

Here's a breakdown of the typical content you will find in a parenting plan:

Conservatorship

This section clarifies whether you and your ex-partner will have sole managing conservatorship (one parent makes decisions) or joint managing conservatorship (shared decision-making). It can also outline the specific areas where decisions are shared (e.g., education, healthcare) or if there's a designated decision-maker for particular situations (e.g., emergency medical care).

Possession Schedule

This is the heart of the plan, detailing how much time the child spends with each parent. It generally includes: 

  • Standard possession schedule: Texas provides standard schedules based on distance between parents' residences. You can adopt this or create a modified plan.
  • Weekdays: Specify daily or alternating pick-up/drop-off times.
  • Weekends: Outline weekend visitation schedules, considering overnights and holidays.
  • Holidays and vacations: Detail arrangements for holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas) and how extended vacations will be handled.
  • Special events: Consider birthdays, school functions, or extracurricular activities that might require adjustments to the regular schedule.

Communication

This section establishes preferred methods of communication between parents regarding the child.

 It might specify:

  • Preferred method: Phone calls, text messages, or a co-parenting app.
  • Frequency: How often routine updates or discussions regarding the child should occur.
  • Conflict resolution: A process for addressing disagreements about the plan or the child's well-being.

Decision-Making Process

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Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With? 

Parents of children 12 years or older can request that the court interview the child to express their preference for where they want to live. While the court will hear the child’s preference and consider it among the many factors used to decide, the child cannot legally choose which parent they want to live with until they are 18.

Courts understand that children may want to live with a parent for the wrong reasons or may not have the emotional maturity to make important life choices. Therefore, the final word concerning which parent the child will live with is up to the court.

How Can ALP Law Firm Help You?

It is essential to be well-prepared and ready to show the court that you can provide a safe and stable home for your child while caring for his or her best interests; this gives you a better chance of a favorable outcome. 

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What You Can Expect Working with ALP Law Firm
  • Fierce Advocacy
    Our attorneys are relentless in their pursuit of justice for you and your family, employing strategic legal tactics to achieve the best possible outcomes.
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    You're not just a case number to us. We prioritize your well-being and work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.
  • Decades of Combined Experience
    Our team offers unparalleled experience and a deep understanding of family law, to provide you with the best possible representation.
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  • Accessibility and Responsiveness
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  • Providing Service in Spanish
    We are dedicated to serving the diverse community in Houston and providing accessible, compassionate legal assistance to Spanish-speaking clients.

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