Kerrville Child Custody Lawyer Providing Answers to Clients With Child Custody Matters
Child custody is one of the most important items that are determined in the process of a divorce. Child custody arrangements can significantly impact the amount of time you spend with your kids and ultimately affect your relationship with them. It tends to be one of the hottest topics during divorce negotiations. Fortunately, an experienced child custody attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Learn how child custody works in Texas and what you need to do if you are seeking a modification to your current child custody orders.
What Types of Child Custody Are There in Texas?
In many states, when it comes to child custody, terms such as sole custody or joint custody are often used to describe different child custody arrangements. Texas uses the term conservatorship to refer to child custody. In the state, a parent can be considered a managing conservator or a possessory conservator. There are two types of custody arrangements or conservatorships – sole managing conservatorships and joint managing conservatorships.
A sole managing conservator has similar rights and duties to a parent who has received full custody of their child – that parent gets to make all decisions for the child without needing approval from the other parent. However, with few exceptions (such as domestic violence cases), Texas laws favor giving parents joint managing conservator rights, allowing both parents to be involved in making decisions for the child.
What Is the ‘Best Interests of the Child’s’ Standard?
When making child custody decisions, a judge may rely on the ‘best interests of the child’ standard, which is a general set of principles used to help determine what will be best for the child in a custody situation from an emotional and physical needs standpoint. There are a number of factors used to determine if a certain decision is in the best interests of the child.
Some of those factors may include the current and future emotional and physical needs of the child, the desires of the child (if mature enough to express them to a judge), the parenting abilities of the person seeking custody, the presence of any emotional or physical dangers (such as a parent with a history of violence or abuse), stability in the home or proposed placement location, and whether there were any incidents of abuse or neglect of the child by either parent seeking conservatorship rights.
It is worth mentioning that a few decades ago, Texas courts would almost always award the mother with conservatorship rights. The state voted to change the laws and allow for equal rights for both parents in custody disputes, which means factors such as gender, religion, race, marital status, and even infidelity do not affect custody decisions.
Can a Minor Child Decide Which Parent to Live With in Texas?
Sometimes, you may hear that the state of Texas allows children who are 12 years old or older to decide which parent they want to live with. This, however, is a common misconception. What actually happens is that a child who is at least 12 years old and whose parents are getting divorced may choose to speak to the judge and express their preference for which parent they would rather live with. This is often done outside of the courtroom, in the judge’s chambers.
The child’s preference is one of many factors used to make child custody decisions. However, even if a child says they would want to live with a certain parent, the court may decide otherwise if that parent would not be the best choice for the child. Sometimes, children may want to live with a parent for the wrong reasons – such as choosing the parent who is less demanding and never says ‘no’ to the child. Children cannot decide who they want to live with until they turn 18, which is the legal age in Texas.
As always, be sure to contact a Kerrville child custody lawyer to discuss your situation and get the answers you need. Each child custody case is unique, and by speaking to a child custody lawyer, you will be better informed of your options and rights as a parent.
What Should I Do if I Need to Ask for a Custody Modification?
In some cases, a parent may have the grounds to request the court to modify their current child custody order. The court may likely consider your request if you can prove that the circumstances of the child or the other parent have materially and substantially changed, which could mean the other parent intends to move out of state; an illness or disability is affecting the other parent’s ability to care for the child; or the other parent has given up their rights or relinquished the child to the care of another person for at least six months, to name a few examples.
If you wish to make a child custody modification request, your first step is to contact a Kerrville child custody attorney. Your attorney can help you determine what steps to take for a successful modification request.
The Law Offices of S. Dylan Pearcy have assisted countless clients in Kerrville, TX, and surrounding areas with a variety of child custody matters. Whether you have a new child custody case, need to modify a current child custody order, or simply have questions, do not hesitate to reach out to our Kerrville office by calling (830) 222-8629. We look forward to assisting you.