When parents decide to file for divorce, one of the most important issues to decide is who will have custody of their child. A child is the most important thing in most parents’ lives. The mere notion that a parent will be forced apart from their kids can be emotionally overwhelming. Although some people may decide to endure a bad marriage or relationship in order to avoid what would likely become a heated and acrimonious divorce proceeding, that may not be a viable solution to the problem.
If you or your former spouse have agreed to pursue a divorce or separation, both parents should find a reputable attorney in Dallas with experience handling divorces involving child custody proceedings.
To discuss your case with one of our family lawyers in Dallas, please contact Walters Gilbreath, PLLC at (844) 451-1220 today. We serve families throughout Austin, Dallas, and Houston including the greater Texas region.
We Know Texas Child Custody Law
Texas courts do not automatically award custody to one parent over the other. Instead, the family law court will consider the relevant circumstances and factors to determine which course of action serves the best interests of the child. However, it is the court, rather than the parents, who has authority to determine the child’s best interests.
In Texas, child custody is also known as “conservatorship.” Instead of “custodians,” the child’s custodial parents are referred to as “conservators.”
There are two forms of conservatorship: “joint managing conservatorship” and “sole managing conservatorship.” Generally, Texas courts operating under the assumption that a joint managing conservatorship serves the best interests of the child. This serves the public purpose of giving children the opportunity to spend time with both parents. Moreover, both parents have an equal opportunity to participate in making decisions about the child’s health, education, and medical care.
A court with jurisdiction to hear a child custody case will examine the rights and responsibilities of the divorcing parents, including:
- Consenting to medical treatment for the child, including emergency care
- Reporting information to the other parent regarding the health and welfare of the child
- Discovering the child’s medical, dental, psychological, or educational records
- Interviewing teachers, doctors, psychologists, and other professionals about the child
- Visiting the child’s school and/or afterschool activities and events
- Receiving child support payments from the supporting parent
- Being listed as a primary emergency contact on the child’s emergency contact forms
In some cases, the court may award certain rights and obligations to one parent. Also, issues regarding primary residence and visitation or access will be determined in separate proceeding known as the standard possession order. The parenting and visitation schedule usually conforms to the previously established status quo. If parents cannot agree on a visitation schedule, the judge will use standard guidelines to create a schedule for them.
Implications Regarding Sole Managing Conservatorship
Sole managing conservatorship can be awarded to one parent over the other. Unlike joint managing conservatorship, this form of conservatorship imbues one parent with the right to make decisions on behalf of the child. Such decisions include where the child will live, the school her or she will attend, and the type of medical care the child will receive.
The court may award a parent with sole managing conservatorship for various reasons. Such reasons include:
- A history of abuse and neglect involving the child
- Domestic violence convictions
- Substance abuse issues
- Mental illness
- The regularity of a spouse’s presence in the child’s life
The court can also award sole managing conservatorship when a history of extreme conflict between the two parents becomes apparent.
Find a Highly Qualified Family Lawyer in Dallas
If you are facing divorce proceedings where the issue of child custody will inevitably be heard by the court, it is highly recommended that you speak with an attorney regarding the merits of your case and the available legal options for you moving forward. At Walters Gilbreath, PLLC, we can help you understand this highly complex and emotionally charged process. As your representatives, we will dedicated our time and effort to securing the best possible outcome for our clients and their children.
Call our office at (844) 451-1220 to learn more about how our Dallas divorce attorneys can assist you.