Divorce and Child Custody Attorneys Helping Families in Dallas, Rockwall, and Collin County
Child custody can be a challenging and emotional aspect of divorce or the breakup of a non-marital relationship involving children. It is best if the parties can reach a mutually agreed upon, court-approved arrangement. However, if the parties cannot come to an agreement, the court will make the decision for them.
The Blacknall Firm understands that child custody issues can be emotionally charged and that each family’s situation is unique. Our firm has a long history of helping families protect the best interests of their children. We listen to your parenting concerns and work with you to create a custody plan that meets the needs of everyone involved.
“Best Interest of the Child” Standard Under Texas Law
In Texas, there is a legal presumption that both parents will have joint legal custody (also known as “conservatorship”) of their children and both will have visitation rights (also known as “possession and access”) unless evidence shows that this arrangement is not in the “best interest of the child.” Texas law prioritizes the child’s needs and the parents’ ability to meet those needs rather than relying on outdated stereotypes such as those that favored mothers over fathers as primary caregivers. Factors that Texas courts may consider when determining the best interests of the child include:
- The child’s age and any special physical or mental considerations
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s health and nutrition
- Each parent’s ability to provide appropriate supervision and discipline
- Access to support systems, including extended family
- History of physical or mental abuse
The best interests of the child can change over time due to changes in the circumstances of the parents and the changing needs of growing children. However, once a custody order is in place, it can be difficult to modify. The child custody lawyers at The Blacknall Firm are available to advocate for you and your child through any circumstances or challenges that may impact the final court order.
Presumption of Joint Custody in Texas
In Texas, child custody is referred to as “conservatorship.” Conservatorship is further divided into:
- Joint managing conservatorship
- Sole managing conservatorship
- Possessory conservatorship
Texas law presumes that both parents will be fit to spend time with and participate in decision-making for their child in a “joint managing conservatorship.” In this arrangement, both parents share all the rights and duties outlined in the Texas Family Code. However, if the joint custodial parents cannot agree on a specific issue, the court may grant decision-making authority on that issue to one parent.
The presumption of joint managing conservatorship can be challenged with evidence that this arrangement is not in the best interest of the child. For example, a history of violence or child abuse, or other factors that may harm the child’s health or well-being, will be taken into account by the judge before making a final determination. It is important to discuss these issues with your attorney as soon as possible.
If the court finds that joint custody is not in the best interest of the child, it may appoint one parent as the “sole managing conservator.” If one parent is designated as the sole managing conservator, the other parent will likely be designated a “possessory conservator” and will have the right to visit with the child.
If you need representation for child custody matter schedule a consultation.