Your definition of “winning” child custody depends on your goals. Perhaps your main goal is having your child live with you over the other parent. On the other hand, you may wish to prevent your child’s other parent from getting custody or visitation rights. Below, our Texas child custody lawyers discuss the basic principles of child custody and offer tips about how to win child custody for mothers in Texas.
Understanding Child Custody Basics in Texas
In Texas, the family court’s primary goal is to protect the child’s best interests. This means that every child custody matter comes down to what is in the child’s best interests.
Texas law generally favors joint custody or joint managing conservatorship. Under a joint conservatorship order, both parents share rights and duties regarding the child. However, joint custody does not always mean spending equal time with the child. It means making decisions together. The belief is that, in most cases, it is in the child’s best interests to maintain healthy relationships with both parents.
However, that does not mean the court never grants sole custody, or sole managing conservatorship. The court may grant sole custody if it considers a parent unfit due to factors like domestic violence or addiction.
How to Win a Texas Child Custody Case in Texas
Ultimately, the best approach to a child custody case is knowing your goals and pursuing them with the child’s best interests at heart. By keeping your child’s best interests at the forefront of the case, you will avoid being motivated by anger or revenge. Additionally, the following tips can help you strengthen your child custody case:
1. Be Involved in Your Child’s Life
Two of the most effective ways to demonstrate your commitment as a parent are by maintaining your parental duties and consistently being involved in your child’s life and activities. In many cases, the parent most involved in their child’s life has an advantage during child custody matters.
In addition to maintaining a safe home environment and proactively addressing your child’s needs, your involvement shows your investment and desire to be present in every aspect of your child’s life. For example, you should continue to be involved in areas of your child’s life such as their:
- Education, such as school functions and parent-teacher conferences
- Extracurricular activities
- Medical appointments
Additionally, you should continue spending quality time with your child. Even simple activities like discussing their day or reading with them can strengthen your relationship and instill a sense of stability and support in your child’s life. The court will assess factors like these in their custody decisions.
2. Avoid Anything that Could Be Used Against You
For example, examples of areas of your life that may be scrutinized during child custody proceedings include, but are not limited to:
- Dating and new relationships. Introducing a new partner to your child prematurely or dating someone with a questionable background can hurt your case. Consider how the relationship might be viewed in the context of your child’s best interests. If you choose to date, ensure the environment around your child remains stable and consistent.
- Friends and associations. You may be judged by your associations with others and who you bring your child around. Spending time with friends or family members with criminal backgrounds or who engage in risky behaviors could hurt your case even if you are not involved.
- Places you visit. Frequenting venues like bars or other adult entertainment spots, going to parties, or consistently spending late nights out could hurt your case. Where you visit may be used as an indicator of your lifestyle choices.
In addition, anything you say to or about the other parent can be used against you to hurt your case. You want to avoid texts, emails, or other forms of communication where you might be construed as threatening, confrontational, or derogatory toward the other parent. It is essential to maintain civility, even when tensions are high.
You should also avoid bad-mouthing the other parent in front of your child, in public, or online. The court may view this behavior as trying to alienate your child from their other parent, hurting your case.
3. Cooperate With Your Child’s Other Parent
Texas courts favor parents who can cooperate with each other for the child’s best interest. Showing you can communicate respectfully, compromise, and make decisions with the other parent can be a significant advantage.
We understand that custody matters can be stressful, demanding, and emotionally charged. However, a demonstrated willingness to cooperate can show that you put your child’s best interests first.
For example, cooperation may mean showing flexibility in visitation schedules when needed. It may include maintaining open lines of communication about your child. It may also include making decisions about your child’s education, health, and well-being together.
4. Follow Court Orders
Has the court issued any orders about conservatorship or care? If so, it is imperative to follow them. If the court requests you to do something, do it. Following court orders shows your commitment to your child’s best interests.
It is important to remember that the court bases every custody decision on what they determine to be the child’s best interests. The court may interpret failure to follow court orders as a lack of responsibility and an unwillingness to prioritize your child’s welfare.
5. Gather Information About the Other Parent
Depending on your child custody goals, you need information and evidence about the other parent that supports and strengthens your case. For example, if you want sole conservatorship, you must prove why the other parent should not get custody rights. Relevant information about your child’s other parent may include, but is not limited to:
- History of substance abuse or addiction
- Past or current domestic violence or child abuse
- Past mental health issues or untreated issues
- Criminal history
- Risky behaviors, such as gambling
If this behavior does not apply, other relevant information may include:
- Neglect or past parenting issues. Document instances where the other parent neglected their parenting responsibilities. Examples may consist of forgetting to pick up your child from school, not attending important events, or failing to provide basic care.
- Unreliability. Keep a log of missed visitations or any inconsistencies in the other parent’s schedule that could disrupt your child’s routine.
- Other relevant behavior. Document issues like frequent job changes, housing instability, or association with individuals who might pose a risk to the child.
Schedule a Consultation With Our Texas Child Custody Attorneys
We hope our tips above about how to win child custody for mothers in Texas have been helpful to you. However, you do not have to face this difficult time alone. Child custody matters can be challenging, frustrating, and stressful. Our Texas child custody lawyers help mothers like you navigate the process and get the best possible results for their cases.
At Warren & Migliaccio, your child’s best interests and your wishes are at the heart of every child custody case we handle. We encourage you to reach out to us today to discuss your unique situation and how we may be able to help you with your case. Contact us online, and we will contact you to schedule a consultation soon.