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Defending Your Custody Rights

Texas allows for two forms of custody when children are involved in a divorce or a suit affecting the parent-child relationship (“SAPCR”). These two custody forms are often called “sole custody” or “joint custody.” Texas child custody law is based on a Child’s Best Interest Standard, and the general presumption at the start of any case is that children are best served when they have two parental figures in their lives, even when and if the parents are separated. Custody awards may be rendered as part of Temporary Orders and/or final orders by the court.

At Izzo & Associates, PLLC, our goal is to help our clients through all the challenges of their family law needs. We have decades of experience representing clients through their custody needs and helping them understand child custody laws in Texas. We are here to help you secure the outcome you deserve in your case, whether you are pursuing sole or joint custody.

Sole Custody

Sole custody is generally awarded when one or both biological parents are absent from a child’s life or when a danger exists for the child. These cases often involve situations where family violence, improper drug or alcohol use, or when physical abuse or neglect of a child has occurred. An adult (who does not have to be a biological parent) may be awarded sole custody, and this adult is named the Sole Managing Conservator. This individual is typically given the exclusive right to make all significant decisions for the child’s benefit in the future, including medical, educational and psychological decisions.

Joint Custody

Another common misconception about child custody laws in Texas is that if joint custody is awarded, it means that two adult conservators will automatically share 50/50 time with their young charges. While this does occur in some family law cases, especially where the parties agree to do so, generally, one conservator will be appointed as the children’s “Primary Residential Conservator,” who will establish the primary residence of the children. The other Joint Managing Conservator will typically be awarded specified visitation with the children, which varies on a case-by-case basis.

Under a joint managing conservatorship arrangement, conservators generally share in decision-making for their children (except that, in most cases, only one conservator is granted the right to determine the children’s primary residence and to receive child and medical support). It should be noted that the title “residential conservator” does not need to be awarded if both parties agree, but in contested cases, child custody laws in Texas require a judge to choose one.

How Do You File For Child Custody In Texas?

Texas child custody laws require you to file a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR). This may be filed in conjunction with a divorce petition or on its own with the Clerk of Court in your residential county.

Once the SAPCR is filed, your child’s other parent will be notified and given an opportunity to respond. If the other parent doesn’t respond to the petition, the case may be resolved in your favor by default. If they counter your petition, you may be asked to try to reach an agreement through negotiation. Failing that, you will need to present your case before the court. Attorney guidance throughout this process is essential for a positive outcome.

How Does A Parent Get Full Custody Of A Child In Texas?

If you want sole managing conservatorship of your child, you must convince the court that limiting or terminating the other parent’s rights is truly in your child’s best interests. That means that you must have a strong, effective argument and significant evidence that shows that your co-parent is unfit to raise a child. Generally speaking, even if you are granted sole managing conservatorship, the other parent may still be given supervised access to your child – unless their parental rights are entirely severed.

We can help you learn more about how to get custody of a child in Texas and explore the strengths and weaknesses of your position.

We Are Here For Your Family

If you are looking for help keeping your family together through your divorce, get the guidance of a skilled and committed legal team to look after your family. We are ready to offer you the representation you need to overcome any of the challenges in your divorce, and we can help you learn how to get custody of a child in Texas. Contact us at 512-982-1161 or email us here to schedule your initial consultation today.