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Archive for the ‘Child Custody’ Category

How to Gain Custody of a Child in Texas

Posted on February 27th, 2019

A person holds a paper cutout of three people with a pair of scissors about to cut one of the "parent" people cutouts from the other two beside the words "Getting Custody of a Child"If you’re in the process of going through a divorce, you’re not alone. In fact, it is estimated that about one-third of marriages in the United States will ultimately end in divorce. One of the biggest concerns you may have is gaining custody of your child or children. Unfortunately, child custody disputes are extremely common among divorcing couples; typically, each party wants sole custody or primary custody, and finding a middle ground is often difficult.

If you know that the child will be best off in your care, here are some tips on how to gain custody of a child in Texas:

Understanding the Court’s Perspective

Start by looking at things from the court’s perspective. In Texas, family courts will always go with the decision that will minimize any negative emotional impact on your child. This typically means encouraging divorcing couples to reach an agreement outside of the courtroom whenever possible.

In some cases, however, the courts may decide to step in and make a decision without much (if any) further consultation from the parents. This is most often the case in situations where the welfare of the child(ren) is perceived to be at risk, or when there is a history of abuse, neglect, or family violence.

Furthermore, for children over the age of 12, it is possible for the child to formally request that their custody be turned over to a specific parent. This is by no means a guarantee, but having a formal document filed with the court by the child can make a substantial difference.

Tips for Gaining Custody of Your Child

If you’re seeking primary or sole custody of your child as you go through the divorce process, there are some tips worth following that may increase your chances for success.

Start by doing everything you can to reach a settlement with the child’s other parent. Try to work with a mediator since going through a court battle will make things more stressful for both you and your child(ren). When working on a custody agreement, always keep your child’s best interests in mind and try to be as courteous to the other parent as possible. It’s not always easy, but this politeness can be very beneficial to you.

If you currently have temporary custody of the child(ren), make sure you’re continuing to let the other parent see them. Never withhold the other parent’s right or ability to see the child(ren) as this could (and likely will) be used against you if the custody dispute makes it way to court.

If you use social media, avoid posting anything negative about the other parent. Even if you have strict privacy settings that prevent your soon-to-be-ex-spouse from seeing what you post, you never know who could be saving screenshots that could be used against you. Keep all information pertaining to your divorce and custody dispute off social media sites.

Finally, go out of your way to document things that could work in your favor. If the other parent was late to pick up your child(ren) as agreed upon or failed to arrive at all, write down the date and time of this occurrence. Keep screenshots of any text messages or other correspondence that can prove this as well. This information can be used in court to demonstrate that the child(ren) would be better suited to live with you. It is especially important that you obtain documentation if there is any history of violence, abuse, or neglect as well.

Consult With a Divorce Attorney

Going through a custody battle can make the entire divorce process much more difficult than it already is. This is where having an experienced family law attorney on your side can make all the difference. They will be able to provide you with guidance and sound legal advice during this difficult time. A divorce attorney with experience in handling custody disputes will also be able to help build your case should the matter go to court.

You should never try to go through a divorce without legal representation; this is especially true when a child custody disagreement exists. Alison Grant, Attorney at Law, is here to assist you through this difficult time. Contact her office today to set up a consultation and case evaluation.

Categories: Child Custody

What are the Different Types of Child Custody?

Posted on December 27th, 2018

A man holds the hand of his young daughter as they walk through a field.There are many elements of child custody cases that you must navigate and understand; one thing to learn is that there are different types of child custody arrangements. Understanding the four different types of child custody can help you navigate a court case better and help you determine the ideal arrangement for you. To help you prepare for your custody battle, here are the four different types of child custody:

Physical Custody

Physical custody is what most people think of when they hear the term “custody.” It simply refers to who has the child with them. Physical custody comes in two forms:

Joint Physical Custody

In many cases, a court will award joint physical custody to the parents – as long as both have been involved in the child’s life. This means that both parents get to have the child(ren) stay with them at certain times. The arrangement may be 50/50; it may be ruled that one parent gets the child(ren) every other weekend; or some other joint physical custody arrangement may be determined to best suit the needs of the children.

Sole Physical Custody

Sole physical custody means that only one parent has custody of the children. Sometimes, the other parent has visitation rights, but sometimes they don’t. Sole physical custody is usually only awarded in special cases, such as if one parent has been abusive or if one parent has no interest in being a part of the child’s life.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is the determination of which parent gets to make the decisions for the child. It is not separate from physical custody; rather, a custody case must determine both who gets physical custody and who gets legal custody.

Joint Legal Custody

When parents share joint legal custody, they both have a say in what happens to the child. Sometimes, legal custody may be shared even if physical custody is not. A non-custodial parent may want to protest against the children being moved out of state, for example. If the issue is contentious enough, it may need to be settled in court.

Sole Legal Custody

Sole legal custody means that only one parent gets to determine what is best for the child. Again, sole legal custody does not necessarily mean sole physical custody. One parent may have sole legal custody even if they share physical custody with the other parent.

When it’s time to make custody arrangements for your children, contact Attorney Alison Grant. She can help you determine which kind of custody arrangement would best suit you and then help you argue your case in court. Whenever your custody issues arise, you can count on Alison Grant to help you through them.

Categories: Child Custody

Can a Custodial Parent Move our Child Out of State?

Posted on October 29th, 2018

When you share a child with an ex, navigating the troublesome waters of child custody can be hard. Whether you share custody or one parent has full custody, there may be disagreements regarding what is best for the child or children. One of the most contentious issues is whether a custodial parent can move a child out of state.

Sharing custody or having visitation rights becomes quite difficult when the parents live in different cities or states. Here are the factors that determine if a custodial parent can move a shared child out of state:

Amount of Involvement in Child’s Life

In some joint custody arrangements, one parent has main custody. This is often determined by the amount of involvement that each parent has had or wants to have in a child’s life. If one parent has joint custody and other factors help their case, they may be allowed to relocate with the child. In cases where one parent only has visitation rights, permission for relocation is a lot more likely to be granted to the custodial parent.

Of course, if each parent has equal custody of the child and is equally involved in his or her life, it becomes more complicated.

Employment Opportunities

The amount of money that a parent makes often translates directly to the quality of life that a child can enjoy. Because of this, a lucrative job opportunity may have a significant influence on whether or not a custodial parent is allowed to relocate with a shared child.

The Best Interests of the Child

Custody arrangements are always determined by what is in the best interest for the child. Whether or not a parent can relocate a child is also determined by this. For relocation to be granted, it must be determined that the child’s emotional, psychological, and physical needs will be met and be benefitted by the new arrangement.

A New Marriage

If a custodial parent gets remarried, the courts may take into consideration whether the child would benefit from moving to wherever their new step-parent is located.

Proximity to Extended Family

In many cases, both parents of a child work. If neither parent can be home to watch the child at all times and they can’t afford a babysitter or daycare, one parent may opt to move closer to extended family who can help take care of the child. In this case, the courts may determine that the move is best for the welfare and development of the child.

The Preference of the Child

If the child is 12 years of age or older, the courts will consider their opinion on the matter. Whether or not the courts agree that the child’s preference is actually the best arrangement, it’s important that they listen to what the child wants.

An Agreed Upon Arrangement

Of course, if each parent agrees to the move, there’s a much higher likelihood that a judge will grant the relocation. If the parents can work out an arrangement that works well for both the parents and the child, they won’t need to engage in a lengthy court battle over the matter.

If you or the other custodial parent wishes to relocate with a shared child, contact Attorney Alison Grant. In the case that you don’t agree to the arrangement, she’ll help you prove that relocation would be detrimental to the child. Even if you and the other parent agree to the relocation, she can help you amend the custody arrangement so that no one can go back on their decision. Call her today to learn more about your custodial rights.

Categories: Child Custody

Gender Bias in the Lone Star State: Do Texas Judges Favor Women in Custody Disputes?

Posted on September 22nd, 2017

Close-up Of Male Judge In Front Of Mallet Holding DocumentsTexas law favors joint child custody because the courts want children to have meaningful relationships with both parents. Unfortunately, joint conservatorship is not always possible.

In order for true joint custody to work, parents must be willing to give priority to the child’s needs. It may not be practical if the parents live far apart, or if the parents cannot set aside their differences when dealing with their child. When joint conservatorship is impractical, the judge must choose which parent is awarded custody.

How The Judge Makes a Decision

The Texas Family Code calls for judges to use “the best interests of the child” as the determining standard. They must consider many factors, such as the resources and programs available to the parents, the stability of the home, and the physical and emotional needs of the child.

While individual judges may feel differently, it is traditional to assume women have spent more time caring for their children than fathers. This may sway the decision toward the mother. However, you are allowed to present evidence in Texas to prove that the children would be better off with their father and to show that he is already heavily involved in childcare.

Overcoming Gender Bias

In the past, courts often decided custody hearings based on the Tender Years Doctrine, a presumptive belief that children were better off with their mothers when they were young. Texas has laws which require judges to consider both parents equally, instead of favoring the mother. But the prejudice may still exist, if not confronted and overcome.

Studies in several states show that many judges still favor the mother, or that attorneys believe that fathers are often not treated fairly. At least one Texas study found that judges could not say they gave fathers fair consideration, and members of the Bar agreed.

Even when confronted with the question directly, judges admit that they understand their obligation but do not always overcome their own bias. The rules of judicial conduct require them to be impartial, but they cannot always get past their own prejudice. It is important to meet this reality head-on when litigating a custody case.

Contact an Experienced Child Custody Attorney

Lawyers often make decisions based on what they believe judges will decide and may make strategic decisions in your custody case because of these perceptions. In order to have a fair playing field, you will have to ask for it. The law is on your side if you want to present evidence that you, as a father, have as much to offer or more as the mother does.

It is important to present your case with a fair and experienced attorney. Contact us today to see how we can help you overcome the gender-bias in your custody case!

Categories: Child Custody

Divorce and Your Kids: What to Know about Child Custody in Texas

Posted on April 21st, 2017

Child on a swing, inbetween her divorced parentsChild custody and divorce laws in Texas are designed to create the best possible outcome for any kids involved in the process. Learning more about child custody can help you understand the process and what to expect as we work through the divorce process.

6 Things to Know About Child Custody in Texas

Texas courts prefer both parents stay involved: Unless there is a clear reason, Texas courts are reluctant to give sole custody to a single parent. Joint custody or conservatorship is far more common and considered to be in the best interest of the child. Both parents are expected to play an active role in the child’s life and to work together in that child’s interest.

You must live in Texas for six months: Your child must have lived in the state for six months before custody can be awarded. You can’t arrive in the state and immediately file for custody. Your child’s other parent must live in the state as well or they must be notified of the proceeding. If you have just moved to Texas, you’ll need to provide names and contact information for everyone your child has lived within the past five years and all his previous addresses.

Orders can be modified: A child custody can be modified here if needed and if the court determines a modification is in the best interest of the child. Situations change and so do the needs of the children involved, so changes and modifications to the custody or child support order can happen over time.

Child custody is conservatorship in Texas: Here in Texas, child custody is called conservatorship and there are two types: Joint Managing and Sole Managing. The courts strongly prefer the Joint Managing Conservatorship model, with both parents playing an active role in the child’s life. Unless there is abuse, neglect or other harmful activity, conservatorship is usually joint in Texas.

The best interest of the children involved leads the process: Decisions, orders, and plans involving custody issues are always decided based on what is best for the kids involved.

Kids get a say: Your kids can state a preference to the court if they are over the age of 12; the judge will consider their preferences and opinions when making a decision.

A Texas Child Custody Attorney Can Help

If you are considering divorce or have already separated and have kids, it is essential to have a family law attorney on your side. The next few months will be critical and will have a big impact on your life and your children’s lives and future. Contact us to ensure you have a child-friendly team working on your behalf and to gain the best possible outcome for you and your kids as you go through the divorce process in Texas.

Categories: Child Custody
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