Houston Child Custody Attorneys
Aggressive Advocacy in Harris, Galveston, Brazoria, Montgomery, Fort Bend, and the Surrounding Counties
Child custody is perhaps the most difficult and undeniably one of the most emotional aspects of divorce. Many divorcing parents vehemently disagree over who should care for their child or children and how they will be raised going forward.
In a contested Texas divorce involving minor children, the family court will address and decide:
- Who receives primary custody and possession of the child or children
- Each parent’s legal rights, responsibilities, and duties concerning each child
- How the child or children will spend time with each parent, including the location and duration of each stay or visit
- Where the children live and with whom
- Which parent will be responsible for paying child support and the child’s or children’s expenses
- How all major decisions between the former spouses which affect the child or children will be made
Our Houston child custody lawyers have decades of experience handling all matters of family law. We are extensively familiar with how Texas courts adjudicate matters of child custody and can provide the seasoned advice you need to navigate what can be a stressful and difficult process.
Our team at the Woodfill Law Firm will carefully evaluate the specifics of your case and recommend the most advantageous course of action. In some instances, this may involve mediation or collaborative law. In other situations, litigation may be the only practical solution. We are aggressive litigators and are not afraid to go to court. No matter your circumstances, we are prepared to diligently represent your interests every step of the way.
We are ready to fight for your family’s best interests. Call (713) 766-0789 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.
How Child Custody Is Decided in Texas
In the state of Texas, a child’s custodian is referred to as their “conservator.” Parents will see this term used frequently in court documents and the legal papers that attorneys produce for their clients.
There are several elements that the court will consider when deciding matters of child custody, including:
- The best interests of the child or children
- Any history of domestic violence
- The testimony of the child or children if they are at least 12 years of age
These factors help the court determine if one or both parents can be a conservator. In general, the courts prefer that children maintain relationships with both parents.
A conservator in Texas has the right to:
- Inquire and participate in the health of the child or children
- Attend scholastic and extracurricular events
- Act as an emergency contact
Types of Child Custody Arrangements in Texas
There are two types of “custody” that become relevant in divorce proceedings. Physical custody refers to possession, meaning a child lives with the parent with physical custody. Legal custody covers decisions involving the child’s upbringing. A parent with legal custody gets a say in the child’s education, religious practices, medical care, recreational activities, and more.
A Texas family court may consider the following arrangement options when deciding matters of child custody:
- Sole Custody. One parent receives sole physical and legal custody. This means the child lives with one parent exclusively, and this parent gets to make all decisions about the child’s upbringing without input from the other parent. This arrangement is not favored, as Texas courts prefer children to have relationships with both parents.
- Joint Custody. One parent receives sole physical custody, but both parents share legal custody. The child will primarily live with the parent with physical custody, but the other parent has visitation rights. Both parents make decisions about the child’s upbringing.
- Shared Custody. Parents share physical and legal custody. Both parents make decisions about the child’s upbringing, and the child lives with each parent for at least 35% of the year.
- Split Custody. In this rare arrangement, parents with multiple children each receive sole custody of at least one child.
Our Houston child custody attorneys understand what is at stake in these matters. We will work to establish that you are a capable conservator and advocate for the custody arrangement that is best for your family.
Modifying an Existing Child Custody Arrangement in Texas
There are some situations where a Texas court will agree to modify an existing child custody arrangement. If both parents agree to the change, the court will in most cases efficiently approve the request.
If both parents do not agree to a child custody modification, the parent requesting the change must prove there has been a substantial change in circumstances and that the requested change is in the best interests of the child or children. The court may also consider granting a modification if the child is at least 12 years of age and wants a change to their custody arrangement.
Examples of “substantial” changes in circumstances include:
- A parent’s refusal to follow the existing child custody order, including a failure to comply with visitation
- A parent developing or recovering from substance abuse issues
- A parent becoming violent or negligent
- A parent becoming unemployed or otherwise financially incapable of providing for the child or children
- A parent maintaining steady employment and becoming more financially capable of providing for the child or children
- A parent plans to move a significant distance
- The child’s needs or preferences changing as they grow older
At the Woodfill Law Firm, our legal staff understands how Texas courts evaluate and decide child custody modification requests. Our Houston child custody lawyers can provide the professional support you need to achieve your goals and secure the best possible outcome for your family.
If you need help modifying an existing child custody order, do not hesitate to contact us online or call (713) 766-0789. Payment plans are available.