All parents have rights and responsibilities regarding their children, which is why custody issues are often at the center of divorce and paternity cases. Because of the personal subject matter, child custody matters are also among the most complex, highly emotional aspects of the legal process. As such, retaining experienced representation should be a priority to protect your interests and achieve your goals in a Texas child custody case.
Our attorneys at The Ramos Law Group, PLLC understand that child custody legal concepts might seem overwhelming, which is why we’re dedicated to guiding you through the process. We can explain the various types of custody arrangements and will advise you on the ways they impact child visitation and support issues. Please contact our office to set up a consultation with a child custody lawyer in The Woodlands, and check out a summary of the relevant laws.
Overview of Texas Child Custody Laws
The child’s best interest standard is the starting point for all issues related to minor children, including custody. In general, the law favors both parents having a relationship with the child through a co-parenting arrangement. As such, Texas presumes that both parents will have joint custody, referring to the arrangement as “joint managing conservators.” Parents each have equal say in the decision-making process regarding:
- Health care;
- Extracurricular activities;
- Participation in religion; and,
- Other important areas of the child’s life.
In addition, one parent will also be granted residential custody representing the child’s primary residence. That individual is responsible for the care, well-being, and day-to-day decision making. The other parent has the right to visitation as described in more detail below.
There are exceptions to the presumption that both parents should enjoy decision making regarding the child. Joint managing conservatorship is contrary to the child’s best interests when substance abuse, domestic violence, and other issues are present that would adversely affect the child. In such a case, one parent may be named the sole managing conservator. The other parent may be a possessory conservator with visitation rights but the extent of possession and rights depends on individual circumstances.
Legal Proceedings Regarding Custody
Custody issues are common in divorce, but they may also come up in connection with paternity when a father seeks to exercise his rights as a parent. In either situation, there are two approaches to custody determinations:
- Parental Agreement: Parents can negotiate and enter into an agreement regarding custody, which may also include arrangements for visitation. The agreement can be entered in court, at which point it becomes a legally enforceable order. However, the judge must still meticulously review the agreement to ensure that it complies with the child’s best interests standard.
- Custody Hearings: When parents cannot reach a compromise on custody, the court will make the determination. The proceeding is similar to a trial in that each parent will have a chance to present evidence and testimony. Again, the child’s best interest standard is paramount. A judge will analyze each factor in the Texas Family Code and apply it to the situation to decide a suitable custody arrangement.
If you want to work toward an agreement on custody, our lawyers at The Ramos Law Group, PLLC will assist in negotiations, drafting a legally compliant agreement, and entering the proper orders in court. However, we’re ready to fight for your parental rights in court with a focus on how your goals align with the child’s best interests standard.
Standard Possession Orders in Texas Child Custody Cases
When one parent has residential custody of the child, the other parent will have the right to visitation; Texas law uses the term possession. In many cases, the standard possession order will be sufficient. It envisions that both parents will have equal time, including holidays, weekends, weekdays, summertime, and school breaks – as much as is practically possible.
In some situations, it may be in the child’s best interest to depart from the standard possession order. One parent can request additional visitation time through an expanded standard possession order.
Trust Your Family’s Interests to a Child Custody Lawyer in The Woodlands
As you can see, Texas child custody matters involve complicated legal requirements, whether you’re trying to work out an agreement or must go to court to exercise your parental rights. You’re in a better position to meet your objectives when you have skilled counsel on your side. If you’re a parent dealing with child custody issues in connection with a divorce or paternity case, please contact The Ramos Law Group, PLLC. We can set up a consultation to review your circumstances and determine the best strategy to move forward.
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. "