Defining “Custody” Under Texas Law
During a divorce or child custody battle, it is the court’s responsibility to determine the child’s “best interests,” but this concept is not particularly clear within Texas law. The courts must interpret the law as best they can under the circumstances of each case.
Because a child custody case may have any number of outcomes, working with an experienced child custody and child support attorney is essential for each parent.
In Texas, the courts generally appoint parents as “Joint Managing Conservators”, unless there is a good reason not to, meaning the parents have equal rights and duties to the child. If the court determines that the parents should not be appointed joint managing conservators, they will appoint one parent “Sole Managing Conservator.” One of the vital facts to remember about Texas child custody cases is that there is no preference given to one parent or the other because of gender. Under the law, gender will not be a consideration as part of the custody determination.
Even if the parties are appointed Joint Managing Conservators, the child in the custody case will generally have a permanent residence with one parent, and the other parent will be granted a certain number of days for visitation. However, many Texas courts are using a model with more equal time allotted between the parents. Any of the dedicated attorneys at Marx, Altman, & Johnson can answer any of your questions about the various custody options.
Child Custody Cases are Lawsuits
An essential facet of divorce law that every parent must remember is that a custody proceeding is a lawsuit. Even if the parents of a child have worked on an agreement for custody and visitation, figuring out which parent gets custody under the law requires the filing of a divorce petition. A parent may also file a Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR).
A child custody lawsuit is not unlike a lawsuit filed in a civil court where one party sues the other for a reason named in the lawsuit. In the case of child custody, one parent sues the other to be named the primary custodial parent of the child. Working with an experienced child custody law firm is extraordinarily important, even if you believe your divorce is amicable or uncontested, but especially if you are dealing with a contested divorce.
Factors that Influence Child Custody Cases
There isn’t a finite list of factors that the court will use to determine child custody; however, there is a Texas divorce case, Holley v. Adams, which the court uses for its list of pertinent factors regarding the best interests of a child.
Some of Those Factors Include:
- What does the child want?
- What are the emotional and physical needs of the child?
- Are there any emotional or physical dangers present?
- What are the abilities of each parent to act as a responsible parent?
- What plans does each parent have for the child?
- How stable is each parent’s home?
- Are there programs available to help with the best interests of the child?
- Has either parent lied or been untruthful about his or her relationship with the child?
- Are there any acts or omissions by the parent that merit consideration?
These are not the only factors the court will use to determine child custody cases, and it is important to speak with a lawyer who has firsthand experience handling child custody cases in the courtroom. With the experience of thousands of family law cases, you can feel confident working with the lawyers of Marx, Altman, & Johnson.
Rely on Marx, Altman & Johnson
As with any professional, it is essential to work with a legal team with experience in the exact area of your case. It is vital to work with a legal professional who knows how to navigate divorce law, child custody, and child support in Fort Worth and Dallas.
Contact Marx, Altman, & Johnson with your questions, concerns, or issues regarding child support, child custody, visitation, and all other family law issues in Fort Worth, Dallas, and surrounding areas.