Divorce is a difficult process that can drain you physically, mentally and emotionally, and the separation becomes more complicated when it involves children. Texas courts rule joint legal custody to most divorcing parents, unless one of the parents has a history of misconduct, such as domestic violence or abuse. To help you understand more about Texas custody laws, the blog provides answers to five frequently asked questions related to child custody.
1. What are the child custody categories in Texas?
The Texas family Code doesn’t use the term ‘custody’ in describing the legal relationship of parents with the child; it uses a more legalistic term of ‘conservatorship’. There are two types of conservatorship in Texas: managing and possessory.
Managing conservatorship includes all the rights and responsibilities associated with parenting. This type of custody provides the right to possession and access to the child and right to inherit and bequeath assets through the child. Managing conservatorship provides the authority over the child’s:
- Schooling and education
- Medical, surgical and dental care
- Religious upbringing
- Consent of marriage
- Legal rights and representation
- Psychological and psychiatric care
Possessory conservators have the right to visit the child under a defined schedule and the right to inherit and bequeath property through the child. There are two statutory possession and access schedules in Texas: standard and extended standard. Parents need to determine the convenient schedule based on the best interest of the child. A judge may have to intervene and make a final decision if the parents strongly disagree on the possession and access schedule.
2. How is the amount of child custody finalized?
A judge considers a number of factors to determine the child custody amount. The considerations include:
- Physical needs of the child
- Stability of the home
- Skills of each parent
- Geographic proximity of the child from the parents
- Cooperation between the parents
- Future plans of the child
- Reports of child abuse
3. Can visitation be denied if the a parent doesn’t pay child support?
No. A parent can’t deny the visitation rights of the other parent, as child support and visitation don’t depend on each other. In such cases, the court will reassess the situation and determine the time that should be allowed to the other parent to visit the child, in addition to the amount owed for child custody.
4. Can a child have a say in the child custody battle?
Children below 12 years are not allowed to choose the parent with whom they want to live. The judge, however, may consider the desires of the child before giving a judgment about the child’s custody, based on the dynamics of the case.
5. Can a parent modify the custody?
Yes. A parent can modify the custody, provided it is in the best interest of the child and both the parents agree to the modification. In addition, a modification is possible if:
- The parent with the right to decide the primary residency relinquishes the possession of the child for approximately 6 months, or there has been a substantial change in the circumstances of the child, parent, conservator or other significant party.
- If a child is 12 years or older and appeals to the court to change the primary caretaker.
Child custody is one of the most important aspects that parents need to decide when filing for a divorce. That’s the reason it is advisable to hire an experienced lawyer who can provide detailed information about the laws related to child custody. If you or someone you know have any questions related to child support and custody, feel free to get in touch with 123 Custody Company. To book an appointment with one of our child custody lawyers, simply call 214.599.9979 or click here.