Child Custody Attorneys Representing Clients in Texas
When parents in Texas are getting divorced or separating, they will need to learn about Texas child custody laws and how the court will award child custody. Rather than using the terms child custody and visitation, however, parents should learn about how Texas uses the terms of “conservatorship,” “possession,” and “access.” In other words, rather than awarding child custody to one or both parents in the state, the court can appoint one or both parents as sole or joint managing or possessory conservators.
If you have questions about child custody, you should seek advice from an experienced Texas child custody attorney as soon as possible. One of the family law advocates at Hargrave Law, PC can begin working with you on your case today.
What is Child Custody in Texas?
Under Texas law, it is “public policy of the state to assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child,” and to “encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.”
Each state has its own child custody laws, and child custody in Texas is known as a conservatorship, with possession and access. You may have heard of the distinction between legal custody and physical custody, where a parent is awarded legal custody to make significant decisions about the child’s upbringing and physical custody to provide day-to-day caretaking functions for the child with overnights. In Texas, courts appoint managing conservators and possessory conservators. If one parent is appointed as the sole managing conservator (who is primarily responsible for making significant decisions about the child’s upbringing), then both parents can still be appointed as possessory conservators with joint possession and access to the child.
Best Interest of the Child Standard in Texas
Texas, similar to other states, makes its decision about appointing parents as conservators based on what is in the best interests of the child. The court takes into account a variety of factors when determining what is in the best interests of the child. The Texas Family Code makes clear that it will consider a history of domestic violence or sexual abuse when making child custody determinations.
More specifically, the “court may not appoint joint managing conservators if credible evidence is presented of a history or pattern of past or present child neglect, or physical or sexual abuse by one parent directed against the other parent, a spouse, or a child, including a sexual assault.” When there is a proven pattern of family violence, the court can deny, restrict, or limit possession.
Creating a Parenting Plan
If parents can agree to settle their disputes pertaining to child custody, they can enter into a parenting plan that contains the necessary provisions for conservatorship and possession. The parents must create a plan that is in the best interests of the child, and the court will need to approve it. In addition, the parenting plan will need to contain provisions for modifying the existing parenting plan.
In situations where the court determines that the existing parenting plan is not in the child’s best interest, the court can ask the parents to revise the parenting plan until it is in the best interests of the child.
Contact an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in Texas
When you are going through a child custody case, it is essential to have an experienced Texas child custody attorney on your side. Child custody cases can become extremely contentious, and they can also be complicated. Our firm can help to show that you should play an important and continuous role in your child’s life. Contact Hargrave Law, PC for more information about how we assist clients in Bedford, TX and throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.