During and after a divorce, child custody affects the role of a parent in the life of a child. The process of determining custody is often emotional, and you may need the support of an experienced legal counselor to reach a satisfactory arrangement. At Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC, we understand that child custody battles can affect a parent’s relationship with a child. We are here to help you understand Texas laws and choose an arrangement that is most beneficial for you and your child.
Child Custody in Texas
In Texas, the legal term for custody is “conservatorship.” A parent may share custody with the other parent in a joint managing conservatorship, or one parent may obtain full custody in a sole managing conservatorship.
Conservatorship is always determined on the standard of the best interest of the child. Financial responsibility, prior caretaking responsibilities, the child’s preference, an ability to respect the other parent, and a child’s physical, emotional, and psychological needs all play a role in determining custody arrangements.
Rights of Conservatorships
The rights of a parent awarded during conservatorship proceedings include:
- The ability to obtain professional records regarding the child
- The ability to speak to a physician and make decisions about a child’s health care
- The ability to obtain information about the child’s physical, educational, and emotional well-being from the other parent
- The ability to speak to educators and make decisions about school activities and educational goals
In a joint managing conservatorship, both parents may have equal parenting rights, or the courts may assign exclusive rights to one parent or the other. In a sole managing conservatorship, one parent has full parental rights, including:
- The ability to receive child support
- Giving consent and making decisions regarding health care treatment and education
- Attending school and extracurricular activities
- Deciding where a child lives, primarily
- Being the first person contacted during emergencies
The court may make a sole conservatorship determination if the other parent is unfit to hold custody rights in some way. A history of violence, neglect, drug/alcohol use, criminal activity, prolonged absences, and irreconcilable belief differences may all affect how the courts award custody in Texas.
Possession and Access
Custody rights primarily determine the legal rights of a parent, not how often a parent can see or spend time with a child. After the courts award conservatorship, the parents must agree to the terms of a visitation schedule. Even parents with sole managing conservatorship rights may need to allow for routine visitation with the other parent. If the parents cannot determine a schedule for holiday visitation and living circumstances, the courts may decide for them.
Determining Child Support
Child custody goes hand in hand with child support. The parent a child does not live with is responsible for providing for a child, financially, until he or she turns 18 or until an age determined by the courts. Child support is determined based on financial means and certain available deductions.
Finding a Harker Heights Child Custody Attorney
Child custody cases can go smoothly if both parents can work together during and after the process. However, child custody often becomes a bitter battle between two parents who have differing beliefs about the well-being of a child. In either case, your attorney will help you retain your rights as a parent and protect your child’s interests.
At Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC, we help parents retain the ability to play important roles in their children’s lives. We routinely work with civilian and military parents, within the state and across the border, to secure child custody and child support arrangements that are both fair and practical. Reach out to us today for a free child custody case consultation.