& Courtroom Experience
Dallas Child Custody Lawyer
Family lawyers help those who are resolving a divorce or child custody issues by advocating on behalf of one parent’s interests.
Since these issues tend to be contentious and adversarial, having a lawyer advocate on your behalf can be essential to settling a child custody hearing in your favor.
The McKinney, Texas and Collin County child custody attorneys at the Tidwell Law Firm, PLLC will advocate for your interests when settling such matters as property division, alimony, child support, and custody.
Here, we’ll talk a little bit about how these issues play out under Texas law.
How the State of Texas Considers Child Custody Issues
Under Texas law, a child’s custodian is called a conservator. Parents are not granted “custody” per se but rather a conservatorship. In all other ways, the concept is identical. When the Texas courts refer to a parent’s rights and responsibilities, they refer to conservatorship.
In the event that two parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, both sides will advocate their interests and case before a judge. Ultimately, the judge will decide the arrangement based on the best interests of the child or children.
There are two different types of conservatorship under Texas Law. Those are:
- Joint Managing Conservatorship (JMC), and
- Sole Managing Conservatorship (SMC).
Rights of Conservatorship Under Texas Law
In Texas, conservatorship entitles parents to specific rights and responsibilities. Those include:
- Access to information concerning the health, education, and well-being of the child;
- Access to medical, psychological, psychiatric, and dental records for the child;
- The ability to discuss health matters with a child’s physician or psychologist;
- Being able to discuss the child with teachers and other educators;
- The ability to give consent for medical decisions.
As you can imagine, the best case scenario involves both parents having access to a child’s educators and healthcare providers. This is Joint Managing Conservatorship and the courts will favor this arrangement unless one parent is unfit to make decisions of this sort.
In other words, the courts presume JMC as the default manner of resolving a custody. This is true regardless of which parent the children resides with. In fact, this arrangement has nothing to do with visitation schedules or access to the child. This gets decided separately under a standard possession order.
Sole Managing Conservatorship
Under an SMC arrangement, only one parent can access, discuss, or consent to medical or educational decisions regarding the child. The SMC can further guide decisions concerning the children’s residence and the entitlement to receive child support.
The court needs a good reason to grant one parent SMC. In some instances, one parent may not want to responsibility of making these decisions. Other valid reasons for denying a parent conservatorship include:
- The parent has a history of violence toward the spouse or children;
- The parent has a history of drug abuse, alcoholism, or criminal activity;
- A parent has little history of interacting with the child;
- The parents have extreme difficulty when it comes to making decisions concerning the child.
Visitation Under Texas Law
While parents are certainly free to make arrangements among each other, the arrangement will not have the force of law behind it unless the courts accept the terms.
Without legal ramification, either parent can ignore or change the arrangement without consulting the other parent. For that reason, it’s important to have a child custody lawyer help you draft an agreement and advocate for your interests before the court.
Under Texas law, access to the child is known as possession. Unless the courts determine that access by one parent would endanger the welfare of the child, it will draft a Standard Possession Order (SPO). This defines a schedule for visitation.
For obvious reasons, one parent will need to have primary possession of the child during the week when the child is going to school. If the parents live close to one another, possession may be split during the week.
A Texas child custody attorney can help you make changes to a visitation schedule and enforce the order.
Child Support Under Texas Law
The court will almost always award the parent with whom the child resides child support. If the children or child split time between residences, the court determines child support on a number of factors. These can include each parent’s income.
A McKinney, Texas child custody lawyer can help you enforce the terms of a child support payment if one parent is delinquent in payments.
Contact a Child Custody Attorney in McKinney, Texas Today
The child custody attorneys at the Tidwell Law Firm, PLLC can help you manage all aspects of your child custody arrangement.
Give us a call or contact us online and we can discuss your situation immediately.
schedule your free consultation.