Going through a divorce is difficult enough as it is. However, matters can become even more complicated when children are involved and custody is in question.
Child custody-related matters are often contentious and involve delicate topics that will need to be addressed. Thus, when it comes to something as precious as your children, it’s important to have someone in your corner with the knowledge, tools, and resources necessary to effectively fight for your custody rights moving forward.
If you are looking for an attorney in or near Tomball, TX, to assist with your child custody legal matter, The Larson Law Office PLLC is here to help. Use our guide below to learn more about how child custody works in Texas and see how an experienced Tomball child custody lawyer can help you move forward today.
An Overview of Child Custody in Texas
Before you get too far along in your child custody proceedings, there are a few things you should know. Read on to learn more about child custody in Texas so you have a clearer picture of what you can expect.
Types of Custody
Custody in Texas is generally split into two categories: (1) conservatorship, and (2) possession.
Conservatorship refers to the right and responsibility to make medical, schooling, and other important decisions on behalf of the child. Possession, on the other hand, refers to the physical custody of and access to the child.
Full Custody (Sole Custody) vs. Joint Custody
Texas courts can appoint one parent as the sole managing conservator (sole custody) or both parents as joint managing conservators (joint custody). When one parent has sole custody, that parent will be solely responsible for making decisions about the child’s health, education, and general welfare. Where both parents are awarded joint custody, however, they will both share in these decisions about the child.
Notably, under Texas Family Code section 153.131, there is a presumption that joint custody is in the child’s best interest. Thus, unless there is evidence indicating that one parent poses a risk to the child or would significantly impair the child’s health or development, Texas courts will typically award joint custody to both parents.
The Best Interest of the Child Standard
In any custody case, the court will have the final say on any custody determinations. However, in making any custody decisions, Texas courts will be guided by the “best interest of the child” standard. As the name implies, this means that the courts will take into account a variety of factors to determine what custody arrangement will ultimately be in the child’s best interest.
Some factors that courts will frequently consider include the:
- Child’s desires and wishes;
- Emotional and physical needs of the child;
- Existence of any danger to the child;
- Abilities of the respective parents seeking custody;
- Existence of any programs available to assist the parents; and
- Stability of the respective homes of the parties seeking custody.
These factors were set forth in the 1976 Texas Supreme Court case Holley v. Adams. Note, however, that the above factors are non-exhaustive, and others may apply depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case.
How a Child Custody Attorney Can Help
Hiring a lawyer for your child custody case may not feel like a top priority as you end your marriage and initiate the divorce process. However, hiring a child custody attorney can provide a number of benefits as you move forward.
For example, an experienced family law and child custody attorney can help you by:
- Providing objective legal analysis regarding the strengths and weaknesses of your claims;
- Creating a customized legal strategy that meets your needs and goals;
- Preparing and filing important legal documents throughout the course of your case;
- Negotiating with your spouse and their legal counsel (if any);
- Attending mediation in an effort to reach an amicable and agreeable resolution outside of court; and
- Litigating your case to conclusion where settlement is not possible.
In short, a qualified and experienced family law attorney can provide you with invaluable legal expertise, advocate on your behalf, and reduce the weight on your shoulders during what can be a complex and stressful time.
The Larson Law Office: Your Trusted Tomball Child Custody Lawyer
If you are looking for a child custody attorney in or near Tomball, TX, look no further than The Larson Law Office.
Husband and wife Erik and Diana have each been practicing for more than 20 years and have received numerous awards and accolades, speaking to their quality and experience in the field of family law. Moreover, we pride ourselves on providing personalized care and attention to each of our clients. Thus, when you hire The Larson Law Office, you can feel confident knowing that you will have a knowledgeable, caring, capable, and compassionate team on your side whom you can trust and rely on.
Call us today to discuss your case and see how The Larson Law Office can help you fight for your custody rights today and into the future.
Do I Need a Child Custody Attorney for My Legal Matter?
Texas law does not require anyone to obtain an attorney to pursue custody of their child. Nevertheless, just because an attorney is not required doesn’t mean that hiring one is not strongly recommended. An experienced attorney can help you draft and file court paperwork, prepare evidence and witnesses to support your claims, and represent your interests in court when necessary, all of which can be a great benefit to your case.
What Kind of Attorney Should I Hire for My Child Custody Dispute?
If you do choose to hire an attorney, it’s important to select someone with extensive experience handling family law and child custody-related matters. Custody matters involve a number of legal intricacies that may not exist in other areas of law. Thus, try your best to steer clear of law firms and attorneys that do not regularly handle custody disputes when selecting someone to represent you and your interests.
Are Fathers Less Likely Than Mothers to Be Awarded Sole Custody?
No, under Texas law, courts are not permitted to have any bias toward any specific parent in making custody decisions. Thus, neither parent is more likely than the other to be awarded sole custody of any children during a divorce. Rather, custody determinations will be made based on what is ultimately in the child’s best interest.