Justia Lawyer Rating
Justia Lawyer Rating
National Bar Association
Fort Bend County Bar Association
State Bar of Texas
United States District Court of Southern Texas
Texas Supreme Court
Avvo Reviews Badge
Texas Bar College
Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in Houston

Ten Things to Know About Child Custody in Texas

Child custody rules vary by state. What takes place in Texas? Discover everything you need to know about child custody in Texas right here.

Are you a Texas parent seeking information about your state's child custody laws? These rules and regulations may have a direct impact on your family, so it's critical to be informed.

Today, we're providing ten critical facts about child custody support in Texas.

Equal Rights for Mothers and Fathers

Chapter 151 of the Texas Family Code establishes the state's position on the parent-child relationship. Both moms and fathers are referred to in this book as "parents." This means that they both have equal legal rights and obligations for their children.

This involves the right to possess the kid physically, to direct their moral and religious education, and to determine their location, among other rights.

Conservatorship in Contradistinction to Possession and Access

The majority of child custody disputes in Texas fall into one of two categories:

  • Conservatory authority (custody)
  • Inheritance and access

Conservatorship protects the parents' fundamental rights and obligations. For example, they each have the right to make decisions about the child's medical care, education, and other aspects of life.

On the other hand, possession, and access refer to physical custody of a child or parent/child visitation. There are two schedules available in this state that govern the amount of time a parent can spend with their child: standard and extended standard schedules. The majority of custody orders are based on a Standard Possession Order (SPO), which specifies the amount of time each parent will spend with the kid.

Parents Are Appointed Joint Conservators

If the parents of a child divorce, state law presumes that both parents should be named "joint managing conservators."

In a nutshell, this means that they will collaborate on child-related decision-making. Take note that this regulation applies only to decision-making and does not require the child to spend equal time with both parents.

A judge may designate one parent as the "sole managing conservator" in some instances. Typically, this function is designated for situations involving familial violence or the absence of the other parent.

Schedules for Possession and Access Are Subject to Change

According to the legislation, parents can agree on separate possession and access schedules if necessary. Additionally, the court may establish a different timetable based on the child's best interests.

If the latter occurs, the court will consider a few critical considerations. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical and emotional requirements of the kid
  • The proximity of the kid to physical and mental danger
  • Future intentions for the child of the parents
  • The home's overall stability
  • Each parent's total fitness and competence
  • Personal preference of the child (if at least 12 years old)
  • Separation of siblings scenarios

Additionally, they will consider these facts while determining whether child support payments are in the child's best interest. Child support is typically paid to the parent has main possession and access to the child or whose residence is designated as the principal living place.

You May Submit a SAPCR

Do you wish to modify a child support order? To get a court order establishing child custody you must file a document " Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR)."

Chapters 102 and 103 of the Texas Family Code define who may file a SAPCR and the procedures for doing so. Additionally, you'll find venues that accept SAPCRs here, allowing you to determine where to file the claim.

There Are Four Procedures for Obtaining a Custody Order

A judge has the authority to order custody or conservatorship powers in four distinct sorts of instances. These include the following:

  • Cases of divorce
  • Cases involving paternity
  • SAPCR instances
  • Instances of protective orders against family violence
Custody is Not a Factor in Determining Child Support

As previously stated, the court will consider the child's best interests when determining the necessity of child support payments. However, it is critical to remember that child support and custody are not mutually exclusive.

This means that a parent cannot deny another parent visiting rights in the absence of child support payments. The court follows the same rules.

Children Must Be 12 Years Old to Express Wishes

Once a kid reaches the age of 12, the Texas courts will consider his or her wants and opinions when establishing criteria for a conservatorship or primary residence.

While the court will listen to and consider this feedback, a child's choice cannot be the sole basis in determining who they live with. For example, if a kid reaches the age of 12 and informs a judge that they wish to change their primary caregiver, the judge will grant a custody adjustment only if the following circumstances also apply:

  • Both parents concur.
  • For a minimum of six months, the person with main residency determination rights relinquishes care and possession of the kid.

There is a significant, material change in the child's, parent's, conservator's, or another key party's circumstances. Typically, the latter point is the more frequently argued. Declaring that a significant shift has occurred in your circumstances is a broad statement that can be substantiated using a variety of different types of evidence.

You Will Require a Parenting Plan

While other states refer to them as custody agreements, in Texas, they are referred to as parenting plans. These are thorough plans that outline how parents will collaborate to make important decisions about and for their children.

Typically, a court will compel each parent to submit a proposed parenting plan. Even if your case does not require one, you should nonetheless prepare one. If all parties agree on the proposed terms, the judge will incorporate them into a court order, making them legally binding.

Legal Counsel is Critical

While you may represent yourself in a Texas child custody lawsuit, we do not encourage it. These situations are frequently intricate, and it is critical to understand your rights and obligations.

It is critical to seek legal representation if any of the following applies:

  • You're concerned about the safety of your youngster.
  • Your case is being litigated (disagreed upon)
  • Your child suffers from a disability.
  • A lawyer represents the opposite parent.

Our legal team is knowledgeable on all aspects of Texas family law. After learning about the circumstances of your case, we'll devote time to developing a detailed strategy that will ensure that this procedure goes as smoothly as possible.

Learn More About Child Custody in Texas

The suggestions above can assist you in gaining a better understanding of Texas child custody rules. They are not, however, exhaustive. Each case is unique and will involve a variety of distinct factors and options to weigh.

If you're preparing for a custody hearing, our team of skilled attorneys Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can assist you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let's work together to take this next step.

Client Reviews
Selecting an attorney can be one of the most difficult decisions a person has to make. In what seems like an overwhelming sea of attorneys who do you choose? Are they qualified, compassionate, and are they willing to fight for you without compromising their integrity? When faced with this decision in 2016 I received this and more when I retained Rahlita Thornton as my attorney. Since 2016 she has represented me on several court cases and I've never been disappointed. She is well versed and very knowledgeable on many aspects of the law. Attorney Thornton and her staff work diligently to ensure no stone is left unturned and justice is served. When I was crippled with fear, bullied, and felt like giving up she was my voice. She is highly recommend and I'm truly blessed to have her in my life. TTW
It was a divine power that drove me to call. There are ton of lawyers online but I knew this attorney was the one for me. C.B., Divorce Client
Attention & communication is very good when working with this professional legal team. They are here to help you whenever questions arise and explain details as they go. Thank you for taking the time to accept my case & working with me. P.L.