Determining Child Custody in Texas

If you are going through a divorce involving children , you will need to seek counsel from a family law attorney in the Woodlands. Even amicable divorces are extremely difficult for all parties involved, and emotions may still run high. Whether you and your former spouse have agreed to a child custody arrangement or whether you plan to contest his or her child custody request, a divorce lawyer can make sure your best interests—and the best interests of the children—are protected. Continue reading below to learn more about how child custody works in Texas family law.

Initial Presumption Child Custody
Texas family law begins with the presumption that the two parents will share custody of their children after a divorce. However, parental duties do not need to be shared equally. Specific child custody rights may be awarded to one parent over another depending on the best interests of the child. However, the presumption that parents have joint legal custody, or share in legal decisions pertaining to minor children, needs to be contested should one parent believe that such is not in the best interests of the children.

Mediation Preference
Texas courts also strongly encourage mediation to shield children from the courtroom. Mediation allows for a cooperative setting where each side is still represented by a child custody lawyer. A mediator will consider many factors in helping the parties agree on which parent should have primary physical custody, including the history of contact between the parent and child and the respective relationships between each parent and the child. A mediator will also consider the child’s health, safety, and welfare, the parent’s health, and each parent’s financial situation. Finally, a mediator will consider any history of physical or emotional child abuse.

Necessary Litigation
While mediation is often mandatry, if one parent simply refuses to sit down and discuss child custody issues, the case will go to court. Going to court is generally a last resort in Texas family law, but a trial becomes necessary if parents are unable to work together in the best interests of the child. If you go to court, a family lawyer will stand by your side to advocate for your legal rights.

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