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As an experienced child custody Lawyer I know that possession and access to children is often the most contentious issue in a divorce. Sometimes parents legitimately contest custody of a child because it is in the child's best interest to be in their care. Other times a parent may use child custody as an excuse to continue fighting with the spouse. They use it to exert control over the soon-to-be ex-spouse. One parent may sincerely believe that the other is a bad parent. He or she may have serious objections to the parenting style, the religious practices, or the illegal and abusive behavior of the other parent. At the end of the day a family court judge in Texas has the final say, and they have a duty to make their decision based upon what is best for the child.
Custody battles are seldom in a child’s best interests
A child custody fight is almost never in the best interests of the child. It is far better for the parents to put aside their differences and work together to develop arrangements that they, and the child, can support. Courts look favorably on joint proposals from parents regarding the custody of the children. To learn about alternatives to child custody battles, contact my Houston law office. According to my clients' testimonies I am one of the best custody lawyers around, and I can help you protect your parental rights while acting in the best interests of your children.
Two options for child custody in Houston
Houston has two basic types of child custody. The child custody laws in the Texas Family Code were changed recently to use the terms joint managing conservatorship and sole managing conservatorship These custody arrangements are known as joint custody and sole custody in other states. They refer to legal custody of the child rather than physical custody, and determine who makes decisions on the child’s behalf. In addition to the two permanent forms of custody, temporary custody may be awarded to one party pending the final divorce decree.
Sole Managing Conservatorship
"Sole managing conservatorship" is the term used to describe sole custody in Texas. When a parent gets sole managing conservatorship of their children, it means that they have the sole right and responsibility of making important decisions on the child's behalf. Some of the decisions that a parent appointed with sole managing conservatorship are entrusted with making include:
- Medical Decisions & Treatment
- Dental Decisions & Treatment
- Psychiatric Decisions & Treatment
- Where the Child Lives; Residence
- Where the Child Goes to School
- Receive Child Support from Non-Custodial Parent
- Religious Practices
- Extracurricular Activities & Sports
Joint Managing Conservatorship
"Joint managing conservatorship" is what we call joint custody of children in Texas. This shared custody arrangement means that parents must make decisions together regarding the medical, dental, residency, and education of the children. If the parents cannot decide who the primary caregiver and residence of the children will be, a custody battle may ensue. Ultimately the judge will decide what residence should be the children's primary residence, or home-base. This does not mean that the other parent does not have access to the child; it just designates one parent as the primary conservator and the other as the non-primary.
The non-primary conservator is the parent who has to pay child support to the primary conservator, because naturally the cost to house, clothe, care, and feed the children will be higher for the person who has the children in their home the majority of the time.
Modifications of Custody Orders
In addition to providing advice and counsel about custody of children, I assist parents who need to change custody orders. Such changes, known as modifications, are usually necessitated by a relocation or other substantial change in circumstances. If you or your ex-spouse is moving; their living situation has changed substantially in a way that would deem a modification necessary; or many years have gone by and you and your ex have agreed to different terms than were originally set in stone by your divorce decree, I can help you make the changes.
For any matter related to possession or access to children in the Houston area, you can trust the child custody attorney at the Law Offices of Frank E. Mann, P.C. I have handled thousands of local custody cases since 1984, and I can help you realize the family living situation you desire.