Child Custody Law There are many factors that go into determining child custody arrangements.
The child custody lawyers at Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant can help you navigate the custody process and come to arrangements that benefit all parties.
Dissolving a marriage can present difficult decisions for divorcing spouses to make, especially if a child or children are involved in the process. The restructuring of a family can be tough for a child, so it is of the utmost importance to carry out the process in the most amicable and positive manner possible. Further, custody cases are not limited to divorces and can involve unmarried parents and modification of prior court orders.
Custody cases are delicate matters that require considerable cooperation between parents and their legal representatives. Under child custody law, there are several associated elements that go into custody proceedings and a number of factors to consider when determining proper parenting arrangements. At Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant, L.L.P., our custody lawyers help parents going through divorce reach appropriate parenting plans that restructure their families in ways that minimize disagreements and foster positive relationships between parents.
Determining Child Custody
Under the Texas Family Code, the court highly encourages agreement between parties to a divorce or child custody action. Collaborative law or negotiation through a child custody attorney is often effective in reaching out-of-court custody settlements. Nowhere is agreement more beneficial than with child custody issues. However, sometimes parties cannot agree. In such cases, the court will determine custody based on Texas statutes and case law.
A fundamental determination made during child custody proceedings is the primary parent the child will live with after a couple divorces.
A Deeper Look into Child Custody Law
Child custody proceedings can be highly sensitive and call for the utmost care and consideration for all parties involved. Each state has different policies and procedures governing child custody matters. In the state of Texas, family courts encourage parents to come to custody agreements that allow both parties to have frequent and continuing contact with their child or children.
“When the court determines in which parent’s home to place a child, it does so in a manner that is in the child’s best interests.”
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Family courts have broad discretion in determining the appropriate possession schedule based on the best interests of the child. Courts may consider equal access, standard possession, supervised possession or even no possession depending on the circumstances of the child.
Custody Factors Considered by the Court
The following is a non-exhaustive list of factors the court can or will review when determining who gets primary custody. In 1976, the Texas Supreme Court created a list of appropriate considerations to be used when courts are called upon to decide custody issues. What follows is a restatement of the factors The Texas Supreme Court identified in Holley v. Adams, 544 S.W. 2d 367:
- The desires of the child
- The emotional and physical needs of the child now and in the future
- Any emotional and physical danger to the child now and in the future
- The parental abilities of the individuals seeking custody
- The programs available to assist these individuals in promoting the best interests of the child
- The plans each individual seeking custody has for the child
- The stability of the proposed homes
- Acts or omissions of a parent that may indicate the current parent-child relationship is not appropriate
- Any excuse for such acts or omissions
It is important to note that parents are permitted and even encouraged to come to an agreement during child custody proceedings. If they cannot come to an agreement, the court will intervene.
Different Types of Child Custody
In the state of Texas, there are several types of child custody arrangements including:
- Temporary custody – This custody arrangement grants one parent the custody of his or her child during a separation or divorce.
- Exclusive custody – This arrangement grants one parent sole custody rights. The non-custodial parent has several options regarding visitation.
- Joint custody – This type of custody arrangement gives both parents equal custody where they each have a say in decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. Texas courts favor this type of child custody arrangement unless it is simply not in the child’s best interest.
Child custody is by no means a one-size-fits-all area of law. Multiple factors go into decision making, and it is often invaluable to seek legal counsel from a proficient custody lawyer.
After a divorce, both parents are still held responsible for their child’s welfare. This being the case, the non-custodial parent must continue to financially support his or her child until he or she turns 18 years old or graduates from high school – whichever happens last. Further, parents can oftentimes arrange child support agreements outside of the courtroom. If they cannot reach an agreement, the court will devise a payment plan based on the Texas Family Code, which takes the non-custodial parent’s monthly income and number of children into consideration. The custody lawyers at Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant are highly skilled when it comes to resolving child support issues through collaborative law, negotiation or litigation.
Contact Our Lawyers for Child Custody Matters
The legal counsel from Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant’s custody attorneys can help you understand your rights as a parent and help resolve custody issues in a way that best suits all parties involved. Call us at (940) 387-3518, or contact us here to set up a custody consultation.