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Child Custody In Texas

Texas Family Code § 152.102(11) defines “legal custody” as meaning the managing conservatorship of a child. Texas Family Code § 153.001 further provides that it is the public policy of Texas to assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child, provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child, and encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.

The bottom line for parents is that they will need to demonstrate to a court that it is in the best interests of a child for them to be awarded custody if they are to be successful in obtaining custody. While Texas Family Code § 153.009 provides that a court can interview a child who is 12 years of age or older to determine the child ’s wishes as to conservatorship or as to the person who shall have the exclusive right to determine the child ’s primary residence, it is important to understand that such provision does not translate to the child’s wishes being automatically granted as a judge will still maintain discretion in such cases (and judges may go against a child’s wishes when the judge believes that such wishes may not actually be in the child’s best interests).

“At The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, we recognize that each case is uniquely different.”

Houston Child Custody Attorney

Are you in the middle of a dispute over child custody in Houston and concerned about how often you are going to be able to see your child? Contact The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, right away to have us work to help you get the time you need and deserve with your child.

Our firm understands the great deal of stress that these kinds of issues can create for people, and we can begin working for you as soon as you call 281-973-0431 or contact our firm online today. We assist clients throughout the greater Houston area with all kinds of child custody matters and we can fight to make sure that your voice is heard in court.

Types Of Child Custody

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act is found in Chapter 152 of the Texas Family Code, but Chapter 153 relates to conservatorship, possession and access. Parents may be appointed to one of three roles in Texas: Sole managing conservator, joint managing conservator, or possessory conservator.

The sole managing conservator means that one parent alone is granted exclusive rights and duties concerning the child. The rights and duties of the sole managing conservator are established under Texas Family Code § 153.132 include all of the following:
● The right to designate the primary residence of the child
● The right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures
● The right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment
● The right to receive and give receipt for periodic payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse these funds for the benefit of the child
● The right to represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child
● The right to consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States
● The right to make decisions concerning the child ’s education
● The right to the services and earnings of the child
● Except when a guardian of the child ’s estate or a guardian or attorney ad litem has been appointed for the child, the right to act as an agent of the child in relation to the child ’s estate if the child ’s action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government
● The right to apply for a passport for the child, renew the child ’s passport, and maintain possession of the child ’s passport
Joint managing conservators mean both parents share rights and duties concerning the child, and these determinations are more common than sole managing conservators. It is important to understand that joint managing conservators do not necessarily share their responsibilities equally.

The parent awarded more rights and responsibilities, such as the right of residence, is referred to as the managing conservator or custodial parent, while the other parent is commonly referred to as the noncustodial parent. A possessory conservator is a parent who is not granted rights and duties concerning the child, but is still awarded the right of possession of a child at specific times under specific conditions.

Standard Custody Schedule In Texas

Texas Family Code § 153.252 states that in a suit, there is a rebuttable presumption that the standard possession order in Subchapter F provides reasonable minimum possession of a child.

For a parent named as a possessory conservator or joint managing conservator and is in the best interest of the child. Standard possession orders offer different rights depending on whether the child is 3 years of age or less.

When a child is 3 years of age or older, then the typical standard possession order will grant the noncustodial parent custody of the child on the first, third, and fifth weekend of every month. This is not the same as every other weekend, as the noncustodial parent could have possession of the child on consecutive weekends when there are five weekends in a month.

The standard possession order also allows for the noncustodial parent to visit the child on Thursdays, usually between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., during the school year. Time during the summer and holidays gets a little more complicated.

During major holidays involving breaks from school, both parents may have equal time with the child. During the actual holidays, one parent may get Christmas while the other gets Thanksgiving, and then the possession changes the following year.

With summer vacation, the noncustodial parent may get up to 30 days of possession of the child. Parents who do not have possession of children on their birthdays may also be granted visitation rights during those days.

When a child is under 3 years of age, then the standard possession order becomes more complicated. Family courts in Texas will have to take a multitude of factors into consideration, including how possession of school age children is transferred, when applicable; each parent’s availability to care for children during time when they would otherwise have rights to visitation; each parent’s emotional, mental, and physical health and ability to care for children; and any distress children might experience when separated from a parent for longer periods of time.

Another possible issue with standard possession orders, especially in Texas, may concern significant distances between the parents. When one parent moves more than 100 miles away from the other parent, a court could grant the noncustodial parent possession for only one weekend a month instead of the first, third, and fifth. The noncustodial parent could also be granted a longer period of time during the summer, possibly up to 42 days instead of 30.

“We Fight For Meaningful Results To Protect Your Rights”
Ikaha M. Sparrow​

Texas Child Custody Resources

Access and Visitation | Office of the Attorney General – On this section of the Attorney General website, you can learn more about the Attorney General’s Access & Visitation program, which is designed to help noncustodial parents establish and maintain active parental relationships with their children and is funded in part through the Federal Parental Access and Visitation (AV) Grant Program. You can view an acknowledgement letter, access an AV application kit, find answers to frequently asked AV questions, and also view a letter of intent. Also learn more about grants to local service providers, the Texas Access and Visitation Hotline, and the Access and Visitation Directory.

Child Custody & Visitation | – Find various resources on this website if you need to change a custody order, respond to a modification case, or need a custody order even though you are not the child’s parent. You can also find information about amended petitions in family law cases, attorneys ad litem and amicus attorneys in family law cases, and authorization for nonparent care of a child. There is also information about changing a child custody order, child custody modification within one year of a current order, and answers to common questions about visitation orders.

Contact A Child Custody Lawyer In Houston Today

If you need assistance with any kind of child custody issue in the Houston area, you should not try to handle anything on your own in court. Let The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, be by your side throughout the whole process so you can have an experienced attorney by your side who can make sure that you are able to get the most advantageous court decision possible.

Call 281-973-0431 or contact us online right now to set up your own free consultation that will allow our firm to examine your case and determine the best path forward for you. We understand the complex issues that are involved in child custody cases and will be able to emphasize all of your strengths so you can have the best shot of being awarded the child custody you richly deserve.