Cypress Child Custody Lawyer
When it comes to fighting for custody of your children, it is common for emotions to run high. If you are on less than amicable speaking terms, the fight may become a war. This can easily cause a backlash that could negatively impact the lives of any children involved. Here at Skillern Firm, our goal is to stop this from happening. We do this by using our skills and experience in negotiation and mediation to open up lines of communication between you and your ex-spouse, creating a safe space for you and steering you both towards a decision that is in the best interests of the children. Our aim is to help you and your family move forward into a brighter new future with as little friction as possible. In Cypress, TX, few family law issues come with the same level of emotions attached as a child custody case, and we know that the decisions and outcomes of these cases are of the utmost importance to you as a parent.
Contact Skillern Firm
Every experienced family law attorney in our team here at Skillern Firm knows that in the majority of cases both parents simply want what they believe is best for their children, and we share that aim. When it comes to Texas family law cases, we deal with divorces, child custody matters, child support, and spousal support cases on a daily basis. Our family law firm has been collectively practicing family law for over 50 years. To discuss your case with one of our skilled Cypress child custody lawyers, give us a call today. We offer an initial case evaluation and consultation so that we can answer any questions you have.
Call today at (936) 213-8479.
What is a Child Custody Trial?
Often, when spouses with children decide to file for divorce, they both want to be the parent who maintains custody of the child. If this is contested by the other spouse and they cannot come to an amicable agreement, the courts may have to step in and a Judge may have to make a decision about who is granted primary child custody. If it gets to this point, and the Judge makes their decision, it is often the case that their decision is one that both spouses are unhappy with. To avoid a result that neither spouse is pleased with, you should attempt to come to an agreement without the courts’ aid. The best way to do this is to employ the help of an experienced family law attorney, one who is skilled at negotiation and mediation between warring spouses.
Different Types of Custody Arrangements in Texas
There are two primary types of legal custody recognized in Texas. They are sole custody or joint custody. Both spouses have parental rights and so joint physical custody is the most common arrangement unless it is in the child’s best interests that one parent does not have custody. However, people are often confused about what shared custody means, it does not equate to a 50/50 split of parenting time.
Parents usually share joint legal custody, which means that they share rights and duties towards the child. While this can mean a 50/50 split of parenting time, shared parenting can take many forms. Usually, one parent will have primary custody in a shared parenting plan. The Judge will consider the child’s best interests, which is often for one parent to have primary custody, i.e. they spend the most time with the child. Often, the child will stay with one parent during the week, and visit the other parent on weekends or holidays.
Sometimes one parent is awarded sole custody. The custodial parent will have the right to make all important decisions concerning the children. You can also fight for sole physical custody, which means that you will be the residential parent and the children will live with you, and the other parent will have to fight for visitation rights, which may be supervised.
This is usually only awarded when one parent has issues that could affect the child’s welfare. Examples include instances of alcohol abuse, substance abuse, child abuse, or domestic violence. If you believe you should have sole custody, then it is important to have an attorney on your side who knows how to evidence your claims.
Cypress, TX Child Custody Laws
When considering issues like custody and conservatorship, the courts will consider many different factors when designing a parenting plan, such as:
Potential danger to 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 most important consideration that any Cypress, TX courtroom will look at in a child custody case is whether or not either parent poses a threat to the child’s safety. The Judge will consider a history of violent behavior or abuse, problems with drugs or alcohol, or a criminal record. In this situation, It is really important that you work as closely as possible with an experienced family law attorney. They will help you present accurate facts and evidence regarding this history.
If you do have a history that looks like this, it does not automatically mean that you will lose your custody case but you will need to present a strong, compelling case that you are not that person anymore and you have turned over a fresh new leaf in your life. In this scenario, you must work closely with your Cypress, TX family law attorney. They will help you build the most compelling case possible.
If your ex-spouse is a danger to your child, it is important that you provide as much evidence as possible. Examples of evidence that you can use include emails and texts, police reports, and anything you think may be useful or relevant to prove they are a danger.
The Parents’ Stability
The next thing the courts may consider is how stable each parent is currently, and how stable they have been in the past. Stability will be judged upon factors like the parent’s ability to keep and maintain a job that allows them to meet their child’s financial needs, both now, and in the past. An experienced family law attorney will be able to help you put this evidence together in the most compelling way for the courts.
In all family law matters in Texas, the courts are not allowed to use the gender of either parent as a reason to make a decision. This prevents the stereotypical assumption that the mother automatically has a stronger case for custody. Instead, the Judge will take into account how involved each parent has been in their child’s life up until this point.
The courts will want you to continue the same level of involvement, regardless of the custody decision. This means if you are the parent that attends all sporting events, takes your child to the doctors and the dentists and you are the one who attends parents’ evenings, you will be encouraged to continue to do so. Being a working parent isn’t frowned upon, but if you work shifts and long hours that prevent you from attending most of your child’s events, the Judge may take this into account in their decision.
The Emotional and Physical Needs of the Child
Another extremely important consideration for the courts is whether or not each parent has the ability to meet their child’s physical and emotional needs. They will want to see that each parent is capable and willing to put the needs of their children before their own and that they can adapt to the constantly changing needs of their children. Current studies and research have shown that a child will have the best chance of healthy development when they have access to both parents.
This means that the courts and the Judge will usually attempt to allow both parents access when they want it. It also usually means they will look down upon any attempts of “alienation”, which is when a parent tries to influence their children’s opinions on the other parent in a negative way.
Family Proximity and Closeness
When a child grows up inside a close-knit family circle, the courts will usually attempt to allow this to continue. This gets complicated when parents are moving to a different state or country and ultimately, the decision will depend on what the Judge thinks is in the best interests of the child.
The Child’s Preference
When a child is aged 12 or over, their preferences will also usually be a factor in the Judge’s decision. They may not override other concerns however and in the end, the welfare of the child will be the primary consideration.
Which Parent Is More Likely to Be Awarded Custody?
Family law judges in the state of Texas are not allowed to place any bias on either parent before they have investigated and examined all of the facts shown to them. Being the mother, or the father should not have any effect on the decision. The only factors that are allowed to influence the decision of the Judge are the ones outlined above.
Forming a Parenting Plan and Establishing Visitation Orders
When the courts are creating their parenting plan, they will always have a preference for creating a joint custody plan, one where both parents are involved in the child’s life if possible. In certain circumstances, one parent may have the children for a larger percentage of the year than the other, even when joint custody has been agreed upon. The visitation order will lay out this framework and this will depend entirely upon what split the courts think are in the best interests of the child. The decision may be made based on how stable each parent is in terms of keeping a job and their financial history.
In cases where a parent has a history of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or violence, the courts may modify the visitation orders to implement supervised visitation. This means they must be supervised when spending time with the children. When you are looking to create a strong and fair parenting plan, one that has your child’s best interests at heart, it is important to seek the help of an experienced attorney.
Enforcing Child Visitation Orders
Sometimes when an ex-spouse feels like they have been hard done by, they can become jealous and angry. When this happens they may decide to start violating their court orders or they might start trying to influence your child’s opinion of you. If your ex-spouse is engaging in this kind of behavior you should make sure you speak to your family law attorney. They will be able to speak to your ex and try to reason with them and if that fails they may petition the court to step in on your behalf. In the most severe cases, the court may decide to modify your orders in a way that restricts your ex even further.
Negotiation and Mediation
When it comes to family law issues involving children, it is much better if both parents can come to an agreement on the plan. This is often difficult and may even seem impossible at the beginning when the emotions are much rawer following the divorce decision. This is where a good Cypress, TX attorney, one that is experienced in both negotiation and mediation can be invaluable. They have gained these skills for a reason and using them will allow you and your spouse to sit down and come to an amicable agreement that is best for all parties involved. When ex-spouses agree in this manner, not only is it the best decision for their children, but it is also a much less expensive route compared to litigation.
In a marriage, all of your responsibilities are split between the both of you. This means you work together to see that all of your children’s needs are met. This means one of you may work and one may stay home to look after the children. Child support is awarded to spouses who need financial support to look after the children when leaving a marriage, especially when they are the ones who end up with primary custody of the child.
Call a Cypress, TX Child Custody Attorney For Help
Here at Skillern Firm, we understand how difficult and important child custody decisions are to our clients. Each experienced family law attorney that works for us wants to help you and your family move into a brighter new future. We use our skills in negotiation and mediation to reduce the friction, allowing the proceedings to move forward without communications breaking down.
Give us a call today at (936) 213-8479 to talk to us about our family law services and to speak to an experienced family law attorney.