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For parents beginning a divorce proceeding, the issue of child custody is always at the forefront of both parent’s concerns. Both want to remain constant in their children’s lives, and they want to make this transition as hassle-free as possible.
As a father of three children, San Antonio family law attorney James Meyrat understands how much your children mean to you. James is ready to take an aggressive approach to child custody litigation because playing nice and conciliatory with the other side may actually cause more unintended harm to your children in the long term.
Child Custody Your Way
There is no one-size-fits-all parenting plan. Parents have the opportunity to shape a parenting plan agreement that will work best for their family. If a mutual agreement cannot be made between parents, then the courts will decide what custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child and apply the Texas Standard Possession Order as the framework of the visitation schedule. Parents should make their best attempt to craft a customized custody agreement with the assistance of a lawyer before resorting to court imposed orders that are not designed to fit your unique family situation and personality.
Managing Conservatorship & Primary Residence
Custody is generally thought of as either Joint Managing Conservatorship or Sole Managing Conservatorship. Unless proved otherwise, courts will presume joint managing conservatorship to be in the children’s best interest.
Joint Managing Conservatorship means that both parents share the children’s big parental decisions. Texas courts view joint managing custody situations, where parents have near-equal time with the children, as being the best arrangement for families. Typically, parents share legal custody, which means both parents share equally in the decision-making about each child’s academic education, health care needs, religious education and extracurricular activities. Most legal rights are share except the “Exclusive Right to Determine Primary Residence of the Child.”
Exclusive Right to Determine the Primary Residence of Child means which parent will have the right to decide where the child will physically live most of the time. This right is not shared between joint managing conservators. That’s why the right is called “exclusive.” The Court considers several factors like the age, circumstances, needs, and best interests of the child. Generally, the parent who has the exclusive right to determine residence of child is entitled to receive child support and is considered the “custodial parent” for visitation purposes. Conversely, the parent who does not have this exclusive right must pay child support and is considered the “noncustodial parent.” Now you can understand why this right is the most heavily litigated legal right in contested custody cases.
Sole managing conservatorship means that one parent has the majority of the legal rights regarding the children and makes the majority of the substantive parental decisions. Sometimes sole managing custody is necessary to protect the children from an abusive situation — usually from a parent that is physically abusive, addicted to drugs or alcohol, or has severe mental health problems and cannot safely care for his or her children. Even in cases where one parent has sole custody, the non-custodial parent often has visitation rights, and is still able to spend time with the children on a set schedule.
In most, though not all cases, the child will reside with one parent while the other parent will have specified periods of visitations (e.g. Friday to Monday morning every other weekend and extended possession during the summer). Parents can craft a good custody and visitation order that is unique to their set of family circumstances without any interference from Courts and lawyers. If a mutual agreement cannot be struck between parents, then you’ll leave it up to the Courts to apply the Texas Standard Possession Order as the framework of your visitation schedule.
Child Support Orders In Texas
Child support orders usually go hand-in-hand with child custody orders in Texas. Child support can be a very contentious issue. While most parents want their children to be adequately supported, few are willing to take on an unfair burden when it comes to providing. I assist parents on both sides of the issue, and can help you make sure that you get a fair child support order.