Child custody is a legal arrangement between a parent and child, involving the child’s welfare and primary care, in light of a separation or divorce. Child custody often involves the child being with one parent more than the other, and can be one of the most emotional and delicate issues in a separation or divorce. Even if parents have joint custody of a child, sharing responsibilities and duties, the child will often live with one parent and visit with another or live with each parent on an alternate basis. In cases of sole custody, a child lives with one parent with visitation rights from the other. Both parties should keep in mind that the ”best interests” of their child should be the main objective, while negotiating custodial rights. An experienced family law attorney can help keep your child’s best interests aligned in your case, taking both parties into consideration.
Custody and Parenting
The end of a relationship with one’s spouse does not mean the relationship between child and parent has to end. However, the reality is that time spent with one’s child will be altered, due to arrangements specifying days of the week and holidays, in which the child spends time with one parent or the other. In legal terms this is referred to as a child visitation schedule, but no parent likes to think of themselves as a visitor in their child’s life. At Bailey & Galyen, we like to look at time spent with your child as parenting, not visitation. As more and more fathers become aware of their rights, they want to be as involved as possible in their child’s life. Fathers want to be equal partners in parenting. A family law specialist not only understands this, but also knows how to make it work so that both parties can fulfill their roles as parents.
Texas Child Custody Laws
In the state of Texas, the laws are structured so that parents are encouraged to work out custody arrangements on their own. The courts in Texas favor joint legal custody, called ”conservatorship,” making decisions based on the ”best interests” of the child, unless otherwise proven. Every parent going through a divorce in Texas must submit to the courts a detailed document called a ”parenting plan.” The plan must be submitted with both parties in agreement, before the judge issues a temporary or final court order. The court will intervene to make decisions only if parents cannot come to an agreement.
In making their decision on who gets custody, the courts will consider the following factors:
- Age and sex of the child.
- Relationship between the parents and the child (and siblings, if any).
- The capacity and resources to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care and other necessary care.
- The age, physical and mental health, stability, character of the parents.
- The preferences of the child, if the court deems the child physically and mentally mature enough to make such decisions.
- Evidence of abuse or domestic violence.
- Other case specific relevant factors.
The judge deciding custody will evaluate financial statements and other papers, to decide who gets custody of the children, possible child support and what arrangements will be made for the non-custodial parent to participate in their child’s life. Because a judge relies on information given by both parties, it is important to have an experienced family law attorney by your side, who can ensure all necessary documentation is prepared and available.
Bailey & Galyen, Your Divorce and Family Law Attorneys
Bailey & Galyen bring years of experience and success to the table, when it comes to cases of divorce and child custody. Our board certified lawyers have successfully helped our clients wade through the rough seas of legalese, both at trial and in negotiations outside of court. Our skilled attorneys use the best possible tools and strategies of the law to give them a successful outcome. Call us today to see how we can make your case a successful one too!
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The law offices of Bailey & Galyen provide skilled legal representation to indiviuals across the State of Texas including the Dallas-Fort Worth communities of Arlington, Bedford, Dallas, Fort Worth, Irving, Grand Prairie, Mesquite and other cities in Texas including Houston Clear Lake / NASA and McAllen, Texas.