Child Custody Lawyers in Texas
A parent should fight for custody when it is in the child’s best interest that they do so. A parent’s selfish needs or desires to hurt the other spouse should not be a factor, nor should a parent’s desires to collect child support. Keep in mind that fighting for custody can often be expensive, time consuming, and may even be harmful to the child emotionally. If you do fight for custody, it is best to hire a child custody lawyer to help you through the process.
Can a Child Decide Who They Wish to Live With?
A child who is 12 years or older can execute an affidavit through a child custody lawyer stating who he or she wants to be his or her managing conservator. The purpose of this affidavit is to inform the judge of the child’s election and is not binding on the judge. Additionally, a child older than 12 may be allowed to speak with the judge about his or her preferences regarding living arrangements going forward.
How do I Decide Whether to Seek Sole or Joint Custody?
One of the experienced child custody lawyer at Ramos Law Group can help you decide whether to file sole custody or joint custody. Texas law presumes that all parents will be granted the title of joint managing conservators. The presumption may not apply when issues such as drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or domestic violence affect the children. In those instances, one parent may be named the sole managing conservator and the other parent will be named the possessory conservator.
The title given does not necessarily affect the other issues pertaining to the children. Regardless of the title, both parents will be awarded certain rights and duties to the children, and both parents will be awarded periods of possession with the children. It is important to discuss the specifics of your case with an experienced child custody attorney prior to making this decision.
Getting Legal Custody if a Child is Living with You, but Your Spouse has Court-Ordered Custody
If the person with custody of the child under the last court order voluntarily leaves the child in the possession of another person for a period of more than 6 months, and the court finds that this arrangement is in the best interest of the child, the court may modify custody upon the filing of the proper motion with the court. Additionally, the court can always modify a previous order if a material and substantial change has occurred. One of the child custody lawyer at Ramos Law Group will provide details on any such modifications as they review your case.
What Sort of Visitation is Usually Awarded?
Texas law presumes that a standard visitation schedule will be followed in most cases for children age 3 and older. A judge can deviate from the standard schedule with good cause, and special allowances can be made for religious holidays.
Of course, parents can agree on custody arrangements that differ from the standard visitation schedule, and judges frequently approve their agreement. Even if you and your spouse are in agreement on a schedule, it is still advised to hire a child custody lawyer to comb through legalities. Possession orders are made by judges to provide a definite visitation schedule in case parents cannot agree.
What is a Standard Possession Order?
The Texas Family Code provides a standard possession order for parents who live within 100 miles of each other or over 100 miles of each other.
For parents residing within 100 miles of each other, the rules for standard possession include:
- Holidays evenly divided between both parents.
- The parent with visitation gets at least two weekends a month.
- The parent with visitation gets at least two hours on Thursdays, during weeks not in possession.
- The parent with visitation gets at least 30 days during the summer.
- School holidays can extend a parent’s visitation by one day before or after the scheduled visit days.
The child custody lawyer at Ramos Law Group will ensure your time is divided fairly.
For parents who live more than 100 miles apart, one parent will have visitation on the following schedule:
- The parent may choose the first, third, or fifth weekend of the month throughout the year.
- They get to choose one weekend per month with at least two weeks notice.
- The one weekend per month must be made in writing within 90 days after the parties begin to live more than 100 miles apart.
Talk to a child custody attorney at Ramos Law Group to learn more.
- Weekends starting at 6:00 p.m. on the first, third and fifth Friday of each month and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday.
- Thursdays during the school year starting at 6:00 p.m. and ending at 8:00 p.m.
- From 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the child’s birthday.
- Fathers have possession for Father’s Day from 6:00 p.m. on the Friday before Father’s Day until 6:00 p.m. on Father’s Day. Mothers have the same period for Mother’s Day.
- On even-numbered years: Parent A has the child during Spring Break and Christmas (until Dec. 28) and Parent B has the child for Thanksgiving.
- In odd-numbered years, the holiday schedule is reversed.
- The parent with visitation has the child for 30 days during the summer. If they give notice before May 1, they can designate the 30 days during the summer when they have possession in up to two separate periods of at least seven days. If no notice is given, they have possession from July 1 until July 31.
Under the expanded option, child custody lawyers can ensure that any visitation period begins when school ends and/or ends when school resumes the following morning.
What is the Expanded Standard Possession Order?
The Texas Family Code states that an expanded standard possession order shall be granted if parent with visitation requests it and it is in the best interest of the child. Your child custody lawyer will study your case and suggest this order if it is advisable. In most courts in the greater Houston area, an expanded standard possession order will always be granted upon request.
An expanded possession allows the parent to pick up for weekend possession at the time school is regularly dismissed, instead of at 6:00 p.m. The weekend ends when the child is dropped off at school on Monday, instead of at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Instead of two hours every Thursday, there is an overnight visitation every Thursday.
Differences in Standard Possession for Less Than 100 miles and More Than 100 Miles?
The possessory parent has visitation every spring break when the parents live farther apart, instead of every other spring break when the parents live near each other. Similarly, summer visitation is expanded to 42 days, instead of 30 days. Finally, if a parent is unable to visit on the first, third, and fifth weekend due to distance, the possessory parent may choose any one weekend per month for visits.
Team up with one of the child custody lawyers at Ramos Law Group to learn more about which child custody options are best for you.
Are Parenting Classes Required in Custody Cases?
Many courts require parents to take parenting classes when custody is an issue. There are many court approved courses online and in person. However, Ramos Law Group’s child custody lawyer recommend that all clients verify that the preferred course is acceptable to the court in question.
Please keep in mind that some courts do not accept online classes and/or have a few select providers they prefer. As a rule, call the court and verify before registering.
The link below provides a list of court approved courses:
Child Custody Houston – Court Approved Parenting Classes
Contact Ramos Law Group
Get in touch with a child custody attorney today to learn more about your rights as a parent, and the various options available to you.