Waco Child Custody Lawyers
Child custody is often one of the most contentious issues that parents face in a divorce or post-divorce situation. Where parents cannot agree on custody matters, either on their own or through negotiation or mediation services, it will be left up to a family court judge to decide.
This can create enormous stress and uncertainty for all parties and can lead to bitter court battles. Because of the divisiveness and emotional distress this issue can create for parents, it is essential that you have the knowledgeable and stable guidance of an experienced family law attorney.
At Hutson & Harris, our legal team has represented clients in child custody cases for years. We will strongly advocate for your parental rights while working to ensure that your child(ren)’s best interests are met.
Our team can ensure that you understand the rules and policies that Texas courts follow in determining this issue and the options that are available to you in making custody arrangements. We take these matters personally and will work zealously to help you achieve a fair and just outcome.
Child Custody in Texas
Child custody in Texas is referred to as “conservatorship” and is based on the overriding policy of what is in the child’s best interests. Courts generally work on the principle that children are best served by having a continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents.
Only in cases where a child’s safety or welfare would be put at risk under this arrangement will a court deny or limit parental access to a child. This generally occurs in cases where domestic violence, substance abuse, or criminal behavior would make a parent unfit.
Custody is broken down into two types:
- Legal custody in which a parent is given legal authority to make major life decisions about the child, such as those relating to health, education, religious upbringing, and more.
- Physical custody in which it is determined where and with whom the child will live. Joint custody of this type would entail a parenting plan that would schedule the time spent with each parent. This often makes one parent the primary conservator having a majority of time spent with the child (this majority may be only slight) with the other parent having visitation rights.
Custody may also be an issue that arises for an unmarried father who wishes to establish his parenthood through a paternity action. Once paternity is established, he can then pursue custody rights to the child through the courts.
How Is Custody Determined By the Courts?
If parents cannot agree on custody arrangements, courts will decide the issue by looking at many factors relevant to the case.
These can include:
- The parenting abilities of each party
- The relationship the child has with each parent
- Whether one parent has served as the main caretaker for the child
- The stability of each proposed home
- How custody will impact the child’s school
- Social activities
- The child’s desires if old enough to have an opinion
- And more
Other Aspects of Child Custody
Custody can arise as an issue not only in a pending divorce or legal action by an unmarried father but in other scenarios as well. Relocating away from the other parent with a child, the necessity to enforce custody arrangements on a non-cooperating parent or to modify existing custody arrangements are all issues that may need determination after the initial arrangement has been finalized. In other cases, third parties, such as grandparents, may seek custody when parents have proven to be unfit or unable to care for their children.
Work with Experienced Waco Child Custody Attorneys
Child custody can be complex both legally and emotionally. This issue can impact you and your children long into the future. Getting it right at the outset is vital because modifying a custody order later can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. At Hutson & Harris, we understand the enormity of this issue for parents and will put all of our skills, experience, and resources to work for you in seeking optimal results.
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