How do Texas Child Custody Laws Affect You and Your Family?

Divorce can be a painful and contentious experience for anyone. This is even truer when there are children involved. Decisions made regarding custody, financial support, education, and primary residence will all have a profound effect on the lives of those involved. Texas child custody laws were developed with the best interests of the child in mind. Hiring a San Antonio child custody attorney will give you a strong ally in pursuing the outcome you want for your family.


In Texas, child custody laws begin with the presumption that both parents should have some conservatorship over any children produced in the marriage. Joint Managing Conservators is a term used to indicate a situation in which both parents make decisions regarding things like primary residence, religious and secular schooling, participation in extra-curricular activities (that require parental permission), medical, dental, and psychiatric care, and financial well-being. A judge will consider several factors when assigning conservatorship. These include the child’s best interest, whether there is a history of domestic abuse, and who the child’s primary caregiver has been. Judges will also hear testimony from any children who are over the age of twelve.


A San Antonio child custody attorney will likely ask many questions about your marriage, your spouse, and your home life with your children. As upsetting as these personal questions may be to answer, they’ll allow your lawyer to collect relevant information for use during a custody hearing. Collecting this information is one of the most vital aspects of any child custody case. The judge will weigh various factors and devise what is called a “parenting plan.”


In Texas, custody is referred to as “conservatorship.”  There are two basic types of conservatorships: possessive and managerial. Possessive conservatorship allows the parent to have regular access to children on a set schedule, to attend school events, or be listed as an emergency contact. Texas child custody laws intend to extend some form of conservatorship to both parents. Exceptions to this would include cases of domestic violence, or any situation in which parental involvement is seen as being detrimental to the best interests of the child.


Whether parental conservatorship is possessive or managerial, a San Antonio child custody attorney will tell you that both parents have a legal obligation to provide medical and dental care, food, clothing, shelter, and other basic needs to the child. Additionally, each parent is responsible for making the other parent aware of issues or concerns with the child. Texas child custody laws assert that both parents have a duty to provide protection and discipline to their children, regardless of the status of their conservatorship.


According to Texas child custody laws, managing conservatorships are divided into two categories: joint conservatorship (shared with your former spouse) and sole or single conservatorship. If joint conservatorship is mandated, this can mean even more conflict between the divorcing parties. Issues like primary residence, child support, and the making of significant decisions can become even more contentious. If one party wants to move the child out of state or further, a geographical restriction can sometimes be imposed. That’s another great reason to hire a San Antonio child custody attorney. Your attorney can help subtract emotion from the equation and help the presiding judge create a parenting plan that reflects the best interests of the child.


Child support can be a difficult and divisive issue, particularly in cases of joint conservatorship. Judges will consider myriad factors in determining who pays and how much. These will include the financial status of both parents and the stability of the home. They may also include considering how well the parents cooperate with each other, and how to best meet the continuing needs of the child.


Reaching an equitable resolution to child custody and child support can be a frustrating, even infuriating, ordeal. However, it will be easier to get the result you want with the assistance of a San Antonio child custody attorney.

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