Child Custody & Visitation Center
Frequently Asked Questions About Child Custody
Q: Legal vs. physical custody?
A: The Texas Family Code doesn’t use the term child custody in describing a parent with whom a child primarily resides. Parents are labeled conservators and usually will be appointed Joint Managing Conservators of the children. One of those parents will be named the parent with the “right to designate the primary residence of the child”, which is usually interpreted to mean that parent has primary custody. Legal rights and duties are then determined as to each parent to deal with the decision making responsibilities associated with a child’s healthcare, education, and general welfare.
Q: How do courts decide with whom the children should live?
A: If parents cannot agree on which parent will designate the primary residence of a child, the court will make this determination based on the best interests of the child. Many factors are considered by the Court in making this determination, such as the mental health and physical abilities of the parents, whether there is a history of family violence or domestic abuse, the child’s age, which parent has been the primary caretaker of the child, and depending on the age of the child, the child’s wishes.
Parents don’t always agree what is “in the best interests of the child”. It can have different meanings to different people, which leads to custody battles for children through the courts. For legal advice about your situation, contact the Georgetown child custody attorneys at KennonLegal Ltd. LLP,
Child Custody – An Overview
Research has shown that divorce has an extreme impact on the emotional stability of children. Unfortunately, many parents fail to see how a divorce impacts their children. Many times this is due to the fact that divorce is a very emotional experience for the parent. The Courts attempt to get parents to work together to solve their custody issues by using collaborative law, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution to reach a parenting plan agreeable to the parents and in the child’s best interest. Parents involved in custody disputes need to learn what child custody and visitation options are available to them and the legal standards that apply to different situations. Divorcing parents need to work through the emotional stress of a divorce, do what is best for their child and work toward an agreed parenting plan for custody and visitation after divorce. It is important to obtain knowledgeable advice and representation from an experienced Georgetown family law attorney. This can make a difference in reaching a mutual agreement that is fair and satisfactory to all. If an agreement cannot be reached and a trial is necessary, success may depend on the early involvement of a family law attorney with experience in contested custody matters.
Creating Co-Parenting Plans that Work
Creating a parenting plan may be the most important thing you do during the divorce process. It also may be the hardest. Divorce is emotionally difficult for the parents and having to sit down and work out a plan for your children with your soon-to-be ex-spouse is usually not a pleasant experience. However, as parents, you are the best to make the decisions regarding your children in that you know your children’s needs, the demands of work and home schedules, and the strengths and weaknesses of each parent. If parents work together to devise a plan that fits both the parent’s and children’s lives, they can avoid a court’s decision that may not necessarily be best for the parent’s or the children. A parenting plan devised by the agreement of the parents can also help make the time spent with your children as happy and productive as possible. Many times, the Court will not have the time or not have sufficient information to make a specialized parenting plan for parents and will resort to a standard order as a solution. By creating a personalized parenting plan, you can create a framework that allows each parent to actively participate in the care and raising of the children. Statistics show that parents who work together and prepare a plan jointly are much more likely to comply with the plan than if a plan is imposed upon them by the Court.
Over one million children go through divorce each year. Research shows that health, mental, and behavioral problems of children are often related to whether or not their parents are able to work together to do what is best for the children after divorce. This requires communication and flexibility on the part of parents. Most parents fail to meet the challenges of raising children after divorce and the children and society suffer. Research further shows that when parents stop communicating after a divorce and fail to work together in raising their children, their children are more likely to suffer academically, psychologically, and have self-esteem and behavioral problems.
Custody Evaluations: What You Should Know
If parents are unable to reach an agreement regarding their children’s primary residence and possession schedule, the family court judge may enter an order for a custody evaluation. A custody evaluation is a process in which a mental health professional, usually a psychologist, specializing in the area of family law and custody issues, evaluates the parents and children and makes a custody and visitation recommendation to the court deciding your case. Although not necessarily binding on the Court, the Court will tend to give the recommendations of the mental health professional considerable weight in reaching a final determination.