Cinco Ranch, TX Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody battles can be particularly challenging to handle, even with a skilled and experienced family lawyer by your side. Emotions run high in custody discussions, with both parties wanting what is best for their children, and fighting hard for what they believe that to look like.
When spouses are already at conflict, going into child custody discussions can exacerbate things, turning conflict into war, and unfortunately, this can spill over, affecting your children.
The main goal of our team here at Skillern Firm, is to utilize negotiation or mediation tactics to help you and your spouse come to an amicable decision that is in the best interest of your children. If we cannot steer you and your spouse through productive discussions we are also prepared to litigate on your behalf.
Contact Skillern Firm Today
Here at Skillern Firm, we have decades of combined experience providing family law services. Our law firm is comprised of attorneys that have worked with countless clients, helping them achieve favorable outcomes that allow them to move forward.
We deal with divorces, child custody matters, and spousal support cases on a daily basis. Our family law firm has been practicing family law for over 13 years.
Call today at 936-213-8479.
What is a Child Custody Battle?
When both parents want custody of their children following a divorce, it can result in a child custody battle. It is unlikely, in these cases, that even with mediation and negotiation, that either spouse will back down, and this means there will likely be a need for court involvement.
What many spouses do not realize however, is that the decisions made by a family law Judge, may not be preferable to either party. The best way to have full control over the agreement is to come to amicable decisions without the need for court involvement. This is why we prioritize negotiation or mediation whenever possible here at Skillern Firm.
If your case is heard by a Judge, your best chance of winning the custody arrangement you desire is to pursue your case with a skilled family law attorney as your legal representation and legal counsel.
Primary Custody vs Conservatorship
In Texas, primary custody is the term given to the parent who has primary care of the child. The child will usually live with the primary custodian and spend most of their time together. The non-custodial parent will have visitation rights and will spend time with the child according to the visitation schedule. A common visitation schedule in Cinco Ranch involves visitation on the first, third, and fifth weekends of the month.
Conservatorship is the right to make important decisions relating to the children. This includes religion, education, and medical care. Usually, parents will have a joint conservatorship, meaning both parents have an equal say in important decisions. If a sole conservatorship is awarded to one parent, they have full say over the important decisions, and their decision is final.
Different Types of Custody Arrangements in Texas
Often, parents are confused by the different types of custody arrangements that are recognized in Texas. Following a child custody battle, the preferred custody arrangement will be one where one parent has primary custody, with the child living at their house whilst the other parent has visitation rights. Both parents will be joint conservators, meaning they have equal say on the important decisions relating to their children.
This joint custody arrangement does not mean an equal 50/50 split of time. Most of the time, arrangements such as the alternating weekend schedule, plus one day in the week, will be awarded.
In order for one parent to be made the sole conservator, it must be shown that the other parent poses a risk or has issues that may affect the children.
If you wish to fight for sole custody, and gain the right to make all of the important decisions in your children’s lives, you will need to put forward an extremely compelling case, backed with evidence. You will need to do this with a skilled attorney for the best chances of your appeal being successful.
Even if you win sole custody, this does not mean the other parent will not have visitation rights. Most of the time, they will still see the children on a normal visitation schedule. In extreme cases they may need to be supervised during visitation and only in the most serious of cases will a parent have their visitation rights removed entirely.
Examples for the perusal of sole custody include: instances of alcohol abuse, substance abuse, child abuse, or domestic violence.
Cinco Ranch, TX Child Custody Laws
If your case is being heard in a family law court, the factors that will be examined when it comes to making a ruling on child custody and conservatorship arrangements include:
- Potential danger to the child from either parent.
- How stable each parent is.
- Previous parental involvement.
- Who can meet the child’s emotional and physical needs best.
- Child’s preference (Age 12+).
Potential Danger to Child from Either Parent
The overriding factor in any child custody battle decision is if either parent poses a risk to the children. The Judge will consider whether or not either parent has a history of violence, abuse, neglect, a criminal record, or has been known to use drugs or abuse alcohol.
If you are a parent with a history of these things, it does not mean you will automatically lose custody. You may have a harder battle ahead of you, but if you can prove that you have changed, and that your history is behind you, you could still win custody. You will, however, have to put forward an extremely compelling case that you have reformed your ways.
You should discuss your history with your attorney if you think your spouse may attempt to use it against you.
Equally, if you believe that your spouse may pose a danger to your child, you need to work with your attorney to build a case that showcases to the Judge why they pose a risk to your children. It is important that you provide your attorney with as much evidence as possible, such as police reports, emails and texts.
The Parents’ Stability
Each parent will be examined to determine their ability to provide a stable life for their children. Their ability to hold down a job and pay their rent/mortgage and bills may be considered as this may show that they will be able to meet their child’s financial needs the best.
As gender is no longer used as a factor in any decision relating to child custody, being the mother or the father is of no importance. Instead, the courts will look at how involved each parent has been in the children’s lives up until now.
Family law Judges will always want you to continue with the same level of involvement following your divorce, such as attending the same sporting events, parents evenings and any other important events.
The Emotional and Physical Needs of the Child
In family law cases, decisions must be made that ensure the emotional, physical, and financial needs of any children are met following the divorce. This means each parent will be judged on their ability to put their children first and meet their needs.
The courts will frown upon any attempts to alienate the other parent, such as engaging in negative talk about the other parent or trying to change their opinion.
Children have the best chance at a healthy development when they have access to both loving parents, with as little conflict as possible.
The Child’s Preference
When a child is aged 12 or over, they can express their preference about where they want to live, which will be considered by the Judge. However, the Judge is not required to agree with the child’s preference and will consider what is in their best interests. They may still rule against the child’s opinion.
Which Parent Is More Likely to Be Awarded Custody?
Before the factors above have been examined, neither parent will have a better chance than the other to be awarded custody. While in the past gender may have had an influence on the decisions made in a family court in Texas, it no longer has any sway.
Mothers and fathers are on equal footing when entering child custody battles and this means that it will be down to their stability, involvement and ability to meet their children’s needs the best.
Forming a Parenting Plan and Establishing Visitation Orders
The courts will always prefer a joint custody plan over any other plan. In a joint custody plan, parents have an equal say in all of the important decisions, and both will have access to their children on a regular basis. This ensures both parents get to stay fully involved in their children’s lives.
Visitation schedules are fairly malleable and can look very different for different parents. The most common schedule that allows the minimum amount of visitation time with the lowest amount of displacement is the alternating weekends and one-day-in-the-week plan. In Texas, this is termed as a Standard Possession Order.
However, some parents may prefer an alternating week schedule or other variation that better suits them. In some situations, the child may want to spend more time with the visitation parent if they have a great relationship, and this should be taken into account.
Enforcing Child Visitation Orders
If a former partner feels like they have been treated unfairly, they may become jealous or angry and resort to violating court orders, such as refusing to pay spousal support, or even trying to sway your child’s opinion of you.
In this situation, it’s important to consult with a family law attorney. They will first try to reason with your ex, but if that doesn’t work, they may petition the court to intervene. The court could then take steps to further restrict your ex, such as modifying existing orders.
Negotiation and Mediation
When it comes to family law matters involving children, reducing conflict as much as possible is in everyone’s best interests. This is why obtaining representation from a law firm that is skilled in negotiation and mediation is a good decision.
To start with, your attorney may sit down with you, and your spouse and their attorney, and help you negotiate terms. They will defuse tempers and steer the discussion wherever possible and will end the meeting if it becomes unproductive.
If this does not work, and you and your spouse cannot sit down in the same room together, they may utilize mediation, which is where you conduct your discussions from different rooms, through the use of an intermediary.
This can help spouses move forward, and make decisions in the best interests of both the children, and themselves. Ultimately, both sides should be willing to compromise a little to create a plan that focuses on the children, but is also preferable to both parties.
Cinco Ranch Child Custody FAQ
How can I modify my child custody arrangement in Cinco Ranch, Texas?
If you and your current co-parent are both in agreement, you can modify your child custody arrangement without going to court. You will need to create a new parenting plan or custody order that both of you agree on and have it notarized. If you and your co-parent are not in agreement, you will need to file a modification petition with the court.
Filing a modification of order will require you to present evidence that you have either gone through a substantial change in circumstances, including but not limited to losing a job, developing a disability or illness, or that your ex-spouse poses a danger to your children.
You should consult with an attorney to discuss your legal options and to help you put together a compelling case.
How can I enforce my child custody arrangement in Cinco Ranch, Texas?
You can file a motion to enforce your current custody arrangement with the court. This motion will ask the court to require the other parent to comply with the current court order.
If the other parent does not comply, the court may take various actions, such as issuing an order for the parent to appear in court, requiring the parent to pay fines or attorney fees, or ordering the parent to comply with the original custody arrangement.
Additionally, court orders can also be enforced through contempt of court proceedings, where the court can hold the other parent in contempt and impose penalties such as fines, jail time, or other penalties.
Call a Cinco Ranch, TX Child Custody Lawyer For Help With Your Family Law Issues
Here at Skillern Firm, as an effective family law practice, we are committed to helping our clients through divorce and all it entails. We know how important child custody decisions are and what they mean to our clients.
We can help you and your spouse sit down and come to amicable agreements that are in everyone’s best interests. Many of our clients are surprised by what they can achieve with the help of our negotiation tactics or through mediation.
If your case does require court involvement, we are prepared to litigate, and will do so fiercely, fighting for a favorable outcome on your behalf.
We cover the Greater Houston area, including Cinco Ranch, Houston, Sugar Land and Katy, TX.
Call today at 936-213-8479.