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Hurst child custody lawyerWhether you are getting divorced or filing a Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship (SAPCR), you need to create a parenting plan that resolves issues of custody and visitation. Custody can be the most difficult issue that parents of minor children have to resolve, and there may be ongoing conflict for as long as the children are under the age of legal adulthood. 

When this conflict gets heated, one or both parents may behave poorly. Unfortunately, it is common for parents to use their children as weapons against each other to resolve past personal differences. One parent may wrongly try to obtain sole custody or alienate the children emotionally from their other parent. Other times, a parent may have legitimate concerns about whether the other parent is abusive, neglectful, or otherwise unfit. Whatever the circumstances in your child custody dispute case, it is essential to have a Texas custody attorney who can advise you throughout the process - and to avoid these three common mistakes.

Putting Your Kids at the Center of the Conflict  

Although a child custody dispute is undoubtedly about your children, the entire purpose is to determine the children’s best interests and to make sure the court custody order protects that. No matter the outcome of the case, there is no question that exposing children to parental conflict is not in their best interests. In fact, studies on the subject show that the most damaging part of divorce for children is typically getting placed in the middle of their parents’ fights and feeling as though they have to make a choice between their parents. 

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Tarrant County Right of First Refusal LawyerWhen Texas parents of a minor child share custody of the child, they must create and abide by a legally enforceable parenting agreement. Although courts can set the terms of the parenting agreement (technically known as a “possession agreement” in Texas legal terms), most co-parents find they can create a better, more satisfactory parenting agreement when they work together outside of court. 

One possible option many parents take advantage of in a customized parenting agreement is an idea called the “right of first refusal.” In this blog, we will explore the basics of the right of first refusal and how, under the right circumstances, it can benefit both a child and her parents. 

The Right of First Refusal in Texas

The right of first refusal is a clause that states one or both parents will rely on each other for childcare when they would otherwise hire a babysitter or ask a family member for help. The right of first refusal does not have set terms, but rather can be customized to suit the needs and schedule of the parents. Ideally, it allows both parents to maximize their time with a child whenever possible. 

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texas child custody lawyerFor parents who are getting divorced, figuring out how custody and visitation work in Texas can feel overwhelming. Fathers especially may worry that they will lose access to their children once the divorce is finalized. Fortunately, the trend in Texas is moving towards making it easier for both parents to exercise their parental rights equally and maintain a loving relationship with their children. If one of your goals in your Texas divorce is getting custody of your children, read on. 

How Does Child Custody Work in Texas?  

Child custody in Texas is divided into two important areas: conservatorship, or the ability to make important decisions on behalf of a child, and access and possession, or the ability to spend time with a child as their caregiver (also known as visitation). Texas usually names both parents “joint managing conservators,” meaning parents will both participate in the decision-making process no matter how possession and access are allocated. 

Parents are encouraged to work together outside of court to create a parenting agreement that includes details about both conservatorship and access and possession. Parents are more likely to be satisfied with the parenting arrangement when they play an active role in negotiating its details. If parents have a hard time getting along, a mediator can help them reach a compromise. 

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