Child custody cases can often be extreme points of unrest in a family. Whether you are going through a divorce or you are unmarried and live in a separate household from the other parent of your children, you could be entitled to file with the court to have an official child custody order put in place. You could also potentially with an attorney to set up a child custody agreement with the other parent, helping to formally set boundaries while still customizing the outcome instead of relying on the court’s decisions.
Houston child custody lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm are available for confidential legal consultations to help you understand more about your legal situation and how to handle your child custody case in Houston. Whether you want to keep custody, take back custody, or get sole custody, our lawyers might be able to help. For a legal consultation, call our law offices at (817) 476-1797.
Types of Child Custody and Conservatorship Arrangements in Houston, TX
Typically, people generally refer to the legal right to make parenting decisions in their child’s life and have them live in their house as “custody.” More specifically, this general definition includes two different types of custody that do two different things:
- Legal custody is the right to make decisions about what happens in your child’s life, including decisions about what religion they will be raised in, what school they will attend, and whether they can undergo certain medical procedures.
- Physical custody is the right to have your child live in your house with you.
Under Texas law, these rights are given different names, with legal custody being referred to as a “managing conservatorship” and physical custody being referred to as “possession.” Sometimes, instead of possession, a parent will merely have visitation, which means that they can see their children and spend time with them, but the court might order supervision during visitation, and the parent usually does not get to have the children live with them.
Conservatorships – again, that’s the right to make decisions and be the legal parent in your child’s life – are broken down into two types: joint managing conservatorships and sole managing conservatorships. If two parents are joint managing conservators, that means they have “joint custody” and can both participate in decisions in their children’s lives. If a parent has a sole managing conservatorship, then they are the only parent allowed to make these decisions.
How Do You Get Child Custody Agreements and Orders in Houston, TX?
Custody is set by the courts. Parents who live and co-parent together are not often said to “have custody.” Instead, we just say that they are the child’s parents, and it is typically understood what that means. For you to get custody, there needs to be a court order in place. Usually, courts address custody issues any time that the parents live apart. That means that if you are getting divorced from the other parent, determining child custody will be a part of the divorce case.
You can also get custody if you and the other parent were never married and have since split up and moved to different households or if there was never a relationship to begin with. Typically speaking, either biological parent has equal grounds to try to claim custody, but decisions about how custody is decided will be left to the parties to determine through agreements or for the court to determine through its own decisions.
When you make custody decisions through an agreement, the case will need to be filed in court. Before or after the case is filed, both parties can negotiate the terms of how they would like to split up parenting time, how they would like to manage important decisions, and how they will manage the process of turning over the children to the other parent when it is their parenting time. Custody agreements will also need to include terms for child support and how that will be handled.
In cases that cannot be settled with an agreement, the court will decide instead. Both sides will submit their needs to the court, and the judge will have the final say about who gets custody, how much parenting time they get, and what other decisions will be made.
Either way, the judge will sign off on the agreement or the order, and it will have the force of law. Any issues or problems will be handled under the terms of the agreement or court order. If either party wants to change terms, the court needs to approve them before the old terms lose their effect.
How Custody Decisions Are Made in Houston
If the parents can agree to custody terms, they can – preferably with the help of their lawyers – create custody agreements. This allows parents to make their own custody decisions about how their children will be cared for. When parents cannot agree or when one parent tries to keep the other from having custody, then the court will make the decisions.
Parents can be denied custody in many cases where the court finds that they are a danger to the children. The courts always consider the best interests of the children as the number one priority. As such, parents often lose custody if they have drug or alcohol abuse problems, if they have been accused of abusing the children or the other parent, or if they have a dangerous criminal record. Our attorneys can help you get a sole managing conservatorship if your children’s other parent is too dangerous to be given equal custody rights, and we can help fight against these kinds of accusations if you are looking to keep custody.
Call Our Houston, TX Child Custody Attorneys for a Confidential Case Consultation
If you live separately from the other parent of your children, you could be entitled to have a court review your case and put child custody orders in place to govern who gets to have conservatorship rights and possession of your shared children. For help fighting to get custody of your kids, keep custody, or deny a dangerous parent custody, call our Houston, TX child custody lawyers today. We can write agreements, challenge custody claims in court, work to have child custody agreements and orders revised, and more. For your case consultation, call the Arlington family law attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm today at (817) 476-1797.