One of the most valuable relationships you can have as a parent is your relationship with your children. Unfortunately, when parents separate or divorce, their relationship with their children can suffer. There’s also the added stress of navigating child custody laws on top of the complicated legal process that comes with the end of a marriage.
Our child custody attorneys at Youngblood Law, PLLC, understand the critical nature of cases involving children. We will serve as the advocates necessary to protect your child’s best interests. Youngblood Law, PLLC strives to make the process as easy for children and parents as possible. You can count on us to be definitive, decisive, and dedicated when we assist you with your case.
Texas Conservatorship Laws
The legal word in Texas for child custody is “conservatorship.” This term refers to the process by which Texas courts determine how parents will share custody of their child. Additionally, Texas courts use the terms “possession” and “access” when discussing visitation. A court order can only create legal custody.
Filing for Child Custody in Texas
In general, before you can file a new child custody case in Texas, you must first demonstrate that Texas is the child’s “home state.” “Home state” is defined by Section 152.102(7) of the Texas Family Code as: “the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding. In the case of a child less than six months of age, the term means the state in which the child lived from birth with a parent or a person acting as a parent.”
Once this is established, you can proceed with the process by completing the necessary paperwork. Your paperwork may differ depending on your specific circumstances (e.g., divorce, contested vs. uncontested, etc.).
An experienced child custody attorney from Youngblood Law, PLLC, can help you determine what needs to be done and guide you through the rest of the process to fight for your parental rights and protect your child’s best interests.
Types of Child Conservatorships in Texas
If you are granted conservatorship of a child by a court, you will be referred to as the child’s conservator. In Texas, there are three distinct types of conservatorships:
Joint Managing Conservatorship
A joint managing conservatorship is the most common type of conservatorship in Texas. Also referred to as joint custody, this arrangement allows you and your ex-spouse to make joint decisions about your child. Section 153.131 of the Texas Family Code presumes that both parents should be named joint managing conservators over their child. This is the default determination for parents in a child custody proceeding unless the court determines that it is not in the child’s best interests to do so.
Children fare better when they keep in close contact with both parents. According to research, children who have a poor relationship with one or both parents may have a more difficult time dealing with family upheaval. Parent education programs that focus on improving the relationship between parents and their children have been shown to help children cope better in the months and years after a divorce.
Sole Managing Conservatorship
In Texas, sole or full custody is referred to as a sole managing conservatorship. These conservators have the authority to make most of the child’s decisions. This type of conservatorship is frequently granted in cases of domestic violence, abuse, or parental absence in a relationship. In those instances, it may be best for one parent to be named the sole managing conservator over the child with exclusive rights and duties regarding the child’s care as set forth in Section 153.132 of the Texas Family Code.
The spouse who does not get sole custody becomes the possessory conservator. Although they retain parental rights, they no longer have the final say when making decisions on behalf of the child. The possessory conservator retains visitation rights or the ability to “possess” the child during the times specified in the visitation schedule.
Determining Conservatorship in Texas
Courts may consider various factors when determining conservatorship as set forth under Section 153 of the Texas Family Code. Some of these factors could include:
- Domestic violence/neglect in either parent’s home, if any;
- Each parent’s willingness and ability to care for the child;
- Each parent’s contribution to the stability of the living environment;
- Each parent’s and child’s pre-existing relationship;
- The child’s current and future needs (physical and emotional); and
- The child’s preferences (generally ages 12 and older).
Divorcing parents are frequently willing to compromise to ensure their child’s safety and happiness. However, in some cases, parents cannot reach an agreement on their own and must seek the court’s assistance. Your Fort Worth child custody attorney can help you work through any difficulties you may encounter during the divorce process and, if necessary, represent you in court.
Youngblood Law, PLLC – Your Experienced Child Custody Lawyer
Do you have concerns about child custody and questions as you seek to protect your child’s best interests during a divorce? If so, you need a Fort Worth family law attorney who has years of experience handling these complex situations. At Youngblood Law, PLLC, we provide custom work for each client, understanding that divorce and family law is not a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all strategy. For us, success is a way of life. We approach every case with compassion and non-judgment, utilizing our years of experience and knowledge of the law while avoiding unnecessary toxicity. We will handle your child custody issues with professionalism and competence, but we’ll also set you up for success moving forward. To schedule your consultation, give us a call at (817) 601-5345.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.