One of the most common questions that our clients have when they are about to enter divorce proceedings is who gets primary custody in Texas?
The answer to this is that it depends. A Texas family law Judge is no longer allowed to let the gender of the parents influence their decision, meaning fathers have the same rights as mothers going into any child custody disputes.
Under Texas law, when it comes to winning primary custody, the decision must be in the child’s best interests and to decide this, the family law court will want to consider a range of factors and examine each parent.
If possible, the courts will expect parents to try to reach an amicable agreement together on child custody arrangements but this is of course, not always possible. When divorcing spouses cannot agree on their child’s primary residence, the decision is then made by the court.
Numerous studies have been published that show that children with access to both parents after a divorce stand a better chance at early development. This is why courts will favor a joint custody plan, with both parents having access to their children wherever it is possible.
The only time the court may decide to award sole custody, which means that they gain the right to make all of the important decisions in their child’s life, such as education, religion, and healthcare, is if the other parent has been proven to be a danger to their children.
Contact The Love DuCote Law Firm Today
At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, when you need legal representation for your child custody cases, we are here to help. We have done so for many clients in the past, winning favorable outcomes and helping our clients achieve primary custody of their children.
We take special care to foster a strong attorney-client relationship based on understanding and trust. We ensure that you are fully informed of your case and that you understand your options every step of the way.
Our attorneys can help you, and your spouse to come to an agreement through negotiation or arrange a more formal mediation meeting if you are unable to do so yourselves. This will save you time and money that would have been used on court costs.
In the event that court intervention is necessary, our experienced trial lawyers will be prepared to fight for your rights and interests.
To arrange an initial consultation with a knowledgeable Texas child custody attorney, call us today at 832-843-1691.
What are The Important Factors the Court May Consider When Determining Primary Custody in Texas?
When it comes to making a ruling on who is going to get primary custody when it is contested in family court, the Judge will make his decision based on a number of criteria:
Does Either Parent Pose a Risk To The Children?
The most important factor that will need to be considered first is whether either party poses a risk to their children. Often there is no risk, and it is simply two loving parents fighting for custody. However, if you believe you deserve primary custody because your spouse is a danger to your children, you must make a compelling case backed with substantial evidence.
Some things that can class as a risk are current or a history of drug or alcohol dependency, criminal record, or record of family violence or child abuse.
In these cases, you may not only want to push for primary custody, but you may also want to be named primary conservator. If you win primary conservatorship, it means you have the right to make important decisions in your child’s life.
If you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse or have committed a crime in the past, it doesn’t automatically mean that you will lose your custody case. You may need to work with your attorney to put forward a compelling case that you have changed and that your history is just that, history.
Previous Involvement Of Each Parent in Their Child’s Life
One of the main factors that the Judge will look at is the level of involvement that each parent has had in the child’s life up until this point. It will stand well in your favor if you were the parent that took the children to their sporting events, doctor’s appointments and spent a lot of quality time with them.
Being a working parent does not go against you, but the Judge may wish to see how you spend your time off, and whether you spend it engaging in quality time with your kids or not
Ability to Meet the Child’s Emotional, Financial and Physical Needs
When you are in a married partnership with children, you have a legal obligation to meet their needs. This is a legal obligation you share while you are married and one that you continue to share, whether you stay married or not.
Your child’s financial, emotional, and physical needs must always be met, and it will be expected that you work together to meet them, even after your divorce.
They will want to see how secure and stable each parent is, and how loving they are.
One parent may be seen as favorable for the ability to provide a stable house because that parent has shown they can hold down a job and meet their payments. The other parent may be seen favorably because they are the loving caregiver and they have spent the most quality time with their children.
The Child’s Wishes
In Texas, when a child reaches the age of 12, they can sign an affidavit expressing their preference for living with one of their parents. This will be taken into consideration by the court, but not necessarily followed if the Judge believes that it is not in the child’s best interests.
The court may also look to keep the child close to their existing family circle or community group, such as a church if that is beneficial for them.
The Different Types of Texas Custody Arrangement
When it comes to determining custody, it isn’t just the primary custody of the child that will need to be decided under the Texas family code. The courts will also need to decide whether or not to award joint or sole custody.
Joint custody in Texas is when both parents have been awarded joint managing conservatorship. This means that both parents have the right to an equal say when important decisions need to be made regarding their children.
This is the preferred form of custody in Texas because it allows both parents to access their children, which is in their best interest as long as both parents are loving and neither poses a risk to the children.
Joint custody does not mean an equally split visitation schedule. A visitation schedule will still need to be formulated. The child usually spends more time with the primary custodian, with the other parent gaining visitation rights. The courts will always make sure visitation schedules grant the visitation parent the minimum amount of time with their children. This may look like an alternate weekend and single day in the week plan, or it may take another form.
Sole custody is when one parent is granted sole managing conservatorship of the children following the divorce.
If you seek sole managing conservatorship of your children, you must prove to the court that the other parent poses a danger to your children. This may be because they have a history or child abuse, or domestic violence or are known to be using drugs/alcohol, have a history of domestic violence, or have a criminal record.
With a skilled attorney from our law firm on your side, we can help you gather evidence and present a strong case to support your claim. If successful, you will gain the right to make all important decisions on behalf of your children, and the other parent will lose any right to make those decisions. The other parent may still receive visitation rights, but in serious cases, those rights may be taken away, or visitation may have to be supervised by a third party with no overnight stays.
Contact The Love DuCote Law Firm
Here at The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we know how important it is to preserve the parent-child relationship wherever possible. We also understand how important matters of custody are to our clients.
The results of your child custody case could affect you for years to come, especially when it comes to who gains primary custody and who has to pay child support. This is where we can help. We will be your advocate in court, putting forward the strongest possible case on your behalf.
Contact us today at 832-843-1691.