Trying to obtain custody of your children is one of the most serious, difficult times of a person’s life. Swiftly and effectively handling the legalities of custody is crucial to the successful resolution of your case. Make sure you know how to file for child custody in Texas and the best approach to take. To get started, there are three primary steps to follow.
Step One: Enlist in the Help of an Attorney
While it’s possible to pursue custody without a lawyer, this is generally not recommended. Some custody cases turn into bitter battles. Even if you think your ex will be amicable or that your case is not complicated, don’t make the mistake of assuming it will be easy or that you won’t run into snags.
An attorney will help prepare your case, take the necessary legal steps and guide you through the process. Your children’s well-being is of primary importance. Hiring a lawyer is worth the security of knowing you are doing your best to reach a resolution that’s in their best interests.
Step Two: Fill out Forms & Prepare Documents
Texas has a protocol for filing for child custody, which your lawyer can walk you through in detail. Unless you are going through a divorce, it will begin by filing a petition with the Dallas clerk of the court using a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) form. When this has been filed and the associated fees have been paid, the other parent will have to be officially notified that the petition has been filed.
The other parent then will have the opportunity to file an answer, counterpetition or denial with the courts. Other documents may be required to be completed and filled out. Then the case will move to mediation and/or trial.
Step Three: Begin Collecting Evidence
As soon as possible, you’ll want to start collecting any evidence that’s pertinent to your case. The judge will attempt to determine what is in the best interests of the children, so you’ll need to be able to prove your ability to care for them – emotionally, physically and financially.
When judges determine custody, they take a number of factors into consideration, such as the parent’s health and level of stability, each parent’s relationship with the children, income and ability to provide a good atmosphere for the children. Any evidence you can collect that will support the above factors in your favor will be relevant to your case.
Your lawyer can give you a list of evidence and documentation to collect, some of which might be:
- medical records;
- employment and financial records; and
- any applicable police reports.
You also might consider using an expert witness to support your case, such a social worker or child psychologist. The more evidence you collect, the more compelling your case will be.
Consult an Attorney at Warren & Migliaccio
For help filing for child custody, contact Warren & Migliaccio, a firm that regularly handles child custody cases in Dallas and surrounding areas. We can guide you through the process, act as your legal confidante and pursue child custody on your behalf.
Call our child custody team in Texas at (888) 584-9614 and schedule a free consultation.