Houston Child Custody Lawyer
Acting in Your Child’s Best Interests
Sometimes, parents legitimately contest custody of a child because it is in the child’s best interest for them to be in that parent's care. Other times, a parent may use a child custody case 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.
Get Help from a Custody Attorney Near You
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. Having reliable legal representation on your side can help you navigate the challenges of custody disputes.
Our Houston child custody attorney at the Law Offices of Frank E. Mann, P.C. is here to represent you and your child’s best interests.
Custody Battles Are Seldom in a Child’s Best Interests
A child custody fight is rarely 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 custody proposals from parents. To learn about alternatives to child custody battles, contact our Houston custody lawyer. We can help you protect your parental rights while acting in the best interests of your children.
Types of Child Custody in Texas
Houston has two basic types of child custody – joint managing conservatorship and sole managing conservatorship
The child custody laws in the Texas Family Code were changed in recent years 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.
Joint Managing Conservatorship
In Texas, there is a presumption that parents will act as joint managing conservators. Often called joint custody in other states, this arrangement does not mean that both parents have equal responsibility for the children. Even though they have joint custody, the court assigns each parent specific rights and duties.
Joint managing conservatorship is the default arrangement for child custody in Texas. This means that parents share responsibility for major decision-making on behalf of the child in matters such as education, religion, and medical crises. It does not mean that both parents spend the same amount of time with the child. However, dividing the time equally can work if both parents and the children want this.
Under joint managing conservatorship, one of the parents is appointed as the primary managing conservator. The child may live primarily with this parent, who has the day-to-day responsibility of caring for the child. The primary managing conservator usually receives child support from the other parent. Either fathers or mothers can be appointed as primary joint managing conservators.
Sole Managing Conservatorship
Sole managing conservatorship means that one parent makes all the major decisions regarding the child’s health, religion, and education.
Such decisions typically involve:
- Where the child lives
- Mental, dental, surgical, and psychiatric treatment
- Legal representation of the child
- Permission to marry
- Consent to military enlistment
- Educational decisions
The other parent, known in other states as the non-custodial parent and in Texas as the sole possessory conservator, can make decisions for the child only when he or she is in possession of the child according to the parenting plan.
When Does the Court Award Sole Conservatorship?
The court may award sole managing conservatorship to one parent when there is clear evidence of family violence on the part of the other parent. In cases such as these, the parenting plan may be limited to supervised contact.
Other circumstances that may lead to sole custody include the death or disappearance of one parent or the court’s determination that the parties are incapable of making decisions together regarding the child’s welfare.
Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With in Texas?
If the child is over age 12, then he or she may petition the court expressing a wish to live with one parent over the other, but ultimately it is the court that makes the final decision. The court takes the child’s wishes into account when determining what type of custody arrangements are in the child’s best interests.
Modifications of Custody Orders in Houston
In addition to providing advice and counsel about custody of children, our firm also assists parents who need to change custody orders. Such changes – known as modifications – are usually necessitated by relocation or other substantial change in circumstances. If you or your ex-spouse is moving; if your 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, we can help you request a modification.
Choose Houston Child Custody Attorney of Frank E. Mann
For any matter related to possession or access to children, you can trust our Houston child custody lawyer. Our firm has handled thousands of local custody cases for over 33 years and can help you realize the family living situation you desire.
Give us a call at (713) 903-8112 for a free case evaluation today.