If you are facing child custody issues, you can trust our team at The Ramos Law Group, PLLC to tackle the legal challenges. We have in-depth knowledge of the relevant Texas laws, backed by years of experience helping families in child custody proceedings. For more information on our legal services, please contact our office to set up a consultation with a Pearland child custody lawyer. You can also read on for an overview of the basic legal concepts.
Summary of Child Custody Laws in Texas
All issues regarding care for minor children, including custody and periods of access, are measured by the child’s best interest standard. Courts generally favor a co-parenting arrangement, where both parents act as “joint managing conservators.” Each has equal access to the child, along with the right to make decisions for the child in the following areas:
- Education and extracurricular activities;
- Health care;
- Entertainment, recreation, and travel;
- Being active in religion; and,
- Other matters that are central to raising the child.
Though both parents may have authority as joint managing conservators, for practical considerations, just one is granted residential custody. The parent with whom the child lives are responsible for day-to-day care, well-being, and routine decisions. The non-residential joint managing conservator will have visitation rights as described below.
Exceptions to the Joint Decision Making Presumption
Though Texas law favors both parents acting as joint managing conservators, a court will not allow such an arrangement under certain circumstances. The application of the child’s best interest factors is crucial. Where the child would be exposed to drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence, criminal activity, or other misconduct, the court will reject a finding of both parents being named joint managing conservators. One parent will be appointed as sole managing conservator, and the other may have limited rights and periods of possession, depending on the circumstances.
The Process of Determining Child Custody
Custody will definitely come up in a divorce when the parties have minor children, but it may also arise when a father has established paternity and wants to exercise parental rights. In both types of proceedings, there are two ways to resolve child custody issues.
1. Custody by Agreement: When parents can agree upon custody and visitation, they can execute the necessary documents and request that the court accept it as an official order. The judge will review the agreement to ensure that it serves the child’s best interests before entering it as a legally binding order of the court. The final order will include all provisions relating to the child or children – rights and duties, periods of possession and access, child support and medical support, passport provisions, etc.
2. Court Hearings on Custody: If parents cannot resolve custody by agreement, the court will conduct a hearing to decide the matter through application of the Texas Family Code. During this proceeding, each party will have the opportunity to testify, present witnesses, and introduce evidence in support of their respective positions. The judge will hand down a decision after reviewing the facts and considering them in light of the child’s best interests. An order will be rendered that contains all the provisions described above relating to custody, possession, and support.
Whichever approach applies to your situation, you can count on our child custody lawyers at The Ramos Law Group, PLLC to protect your parental interests. We have solid skills in negotiating and drafting co-parenting agreements, but we are also adept in trial advocacy if a court hearing becomes necessary.
How Child Custody Affects Visitation
When one joint managing conservator is named as the primary conservator, the other parent will be granted a “possessory conservatorship,” i.e., visitation. Texas uses a standard possession order, in which parents share custody of the children based on a calendar established in the Texas Family Code. Each will equally split, as much as practically possible, special occasions, holidays, and school breaks. Where appropriate, a court will allow parents to depart from the standard possession order if doing so serves the child’s best interests.
A Pearland Child Custody Attorney Can Explain The Details
While this summary of the major issues in a child custody matter may be helpful, it should also convince you of the importance of retaining experienced legal counsel. Our lawyers at The Ramos Law Group, PLLC can assist with negotiating and drafting a parenting agreement, but we are equally prepared to take your case to court to enforce your rights as a parent. To learn more about our services, please contact our Pearland, TX office to set up a consultation with a member of our team.
Our Client Testimonials
The decision to end my 25-year marriage was not an easy one, but hiring the Ramos Law Group was. From the initial consultation to the execution of the Divorce Decree everyone at the firm displayed the utmost professionalism and I was treated as if I was their only client. My attorney Lindsey, always provided precise legal guidance, was usually one step ahead of the opposing counsel, and had a superb understanding of how things would play out in the court room. Additionally, whenever my case needed a little extra horsepower, Mary provided that "surge" to keep things on track.
"Ms. Ramos and her entire staff worked with professionalism and compassion to guide me through the most difficult time of my life and to an outcome that was best for my family and myself. Ramos Law is incredible and I highly, highly recommend their services."
"I was recommended to see Mary Ramos for my on coming custody case,it was the best thing I could've done honestly.The Ramos law group was quick with emailed responses and telephone calls,informative with ANY questions I had and they also took action with what they thought would work,which it did,I had money troubles and they were still willing to help they sent me with a younger lawyer Lindsey Lewis to help save some money and she was the best!She knew what she was doing and Mary was still on my case to make sure things went smoothly and to catch any details Lindsey and I might have missed.All in all I am a very satisfied client and if I ever needed a family lawyer again I would come back.My case was won as I received primary for my daughter which is exactly what I asked for.If you're willing to listen to what they have to say and follow their guidance they're definitely worth hiring.I thought I wanted sole custody for my daughter and they explained that wasn't in the best interest for her and honestly they were right,they speak to you on a professional level and also a real level of how things are actually going to work and what could happen if you take a certain action.They definitely care about their clients and make their own bond with you,you're not just money in their pockets you turn into family. "
"I received excellent advice and representation from Ms. Lindsey Lewis. She kept me updated at every step of the process, and I never felt as if my case was set aside. I would hire The Ramos Law Group in the future. "
"I started my divorce with a lawyer who was not very responsive. My divorce case was complicated and needed more laborious scrutiny. Since the case was not moving forward I had to switch lawyers. Made the switch to Ramos Law group. Since the very first day Mary and her team have been very efficient and meticulous. Since the case was complicated the team had to go through myriads of pages in discovery. I was pleased with the legal team that helped us handle the paperwork in a very timely manner. All my questions were answered very promptly. The relay of information was easy with their software system. We finally had a law firm that we could trust. My divorce was finalized and I only have Mary and her team to thank for going through a difficult divorce. I would highly recommend the Ramos law group for their help and support for getting my life back on track. "