Devoted parents always want the best for their children and so does the state of Texas. This is why Texas child custody laws have been written so that the best interests of the child is the gold standard used in deciding legal custody.
Under Texas child custody laws, the court determines the role that each parent will play in the lives of their children after the divorce.
Depending upon the role awarded by the court, a parent will have certain rights and obligations relating to the child, which may or may not be shared with the other parent. If you are amid a child custody battle, you may benefit by speaking with a child custody lawyer in Dallas.
Managing conservators have what is commonly known as legal custody which carries the responsibility of making major decisions affecting a child’s general welfare.
In a joint managing conservatorship both parents are actively involved in their children’s lives and make important decisions together relating to their children’s medical care, education, and moral and religious training. This is the custody arrangement favored by the Texas courts.
Although sole conservatorship is less common and discouraged under Texas child custody laws, it may be ordered in certain dire situations where there is evidence of child abuse or neglect.
In this custody arrangement, legal custody is granted to one person who has the exclusive right to manage the day-to-day affairs of the child and to designate the primary residence of the child. The parent denied legal custody may still be obligated to pay child support.
Possessory conservators have what is commonly known as physical custody, which allows the parent access to their children in some type of living arrangement. When both parents are possessory conservators they share custody in accordance with an arrangement agreed to by the parents or by the court, if the parents cannot agree.
Often these agreements are prepared by a child custody lawyer. When one parent is designated as sole possessory conservator, he or she has the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the children, sometimes with the condition that the children remain in a certain geographical area.
The other parent visits with the children in accordance with a very specific and detailed visitation schedule often drafted by a child custody attorney. Continue reading for more information on Texas child custody laws.
Texas Child Visitation Laws: Schedule
Once legal and possessory custody is determined a visitation schedule, known as a possession order, must be approved by the court. Just because parents are appointed as joint conservators doesn’t mean the court will award equal or nearly equal periods of physical possession of and access to the child.
A standard possession order is set out in the Texas child visitation laws and provides 2 different schedules depending on whether the parents live within 100 miles of each other.
The schedules provide specific visitation times during school days, weekends, holidays, and summer vacations. For some families these times are not workable and a parent may need the assistance of a Texas child custody attorney to craft a schedule that is more parent-friendly but still is in the best interests of the child.
Factors that Influence Custody and Child Visitation
Texas child visitation laws lay out several helpful factors that courts can consider when they have to make difficult decisions regarding custody of and access to children.
Factors that affect court decisions for custody:
- the age of each child;
- whether there are siblings;
- the child’s relationship to each parent;
- the ability of the parents to give first priority to the welfare of the child and reach shared decisions in the child’s best interest;
- which parent has been the primary caretaker during the marriage;
- for children 12 years of age and older, the children’s preferences on where they want to live;
- the geographical proximity of the parents’ residences; and
the child’s need for continuity of routine.
Contacting a Texas Child Custody Attorney
From every angle, the child’s best interests are always at the center of the picture and at the heart of all custody decisions. A Texas child custody attorney can help bring you into the picture and show the court how placing the child in your loving care is in the best interests of the child. For a consultation on all your custody issues contact the family law firm of Warren & Migliaccio LLP at 888-584-9614.