Houston Child Custody Attorney
One of the most important aspects of a Texas divorce is determining whether one or both parents will be responsible for raising the children and when each parent will have custody of the children. Even if the parents were never married, it may be necessary to go to court to establish legal rights and responsibilities when each parent wants a role in the children’s lives, or when one parent believes sole control over the children is necessary. Houston child custody attorney Maria S. Lowry helps parents reach agreement with their co-parents regarding child custody or child support and represent them in court when contested issues over child custody are present.
Texas Child Custody Law
When making child custody determinations, Texas courts will decide both the legal custody of the child and the physical custody of the child. Legal custody, known in Texas as conservatorship, refers to the right to determine the child’s domicile or residence, make decisions about the child’s education, and also make medical decisions for the child. This responsibility can be given to one parent alone (sole managing conservatorship) or shared in some fashion by the parents (joint managing conservatorship).
Physical custody, known in Texas as possession and access, refers to the custodial and visitation time each parent has with the children. Texas law includes two sets of guidelines for possession and access, depending upon how far apart the parents live from one another (more or less than 100 miles).
In what is known as the Standard Possession Order, the guidelines set out how parents can share in possession of their children. The standard order typically grants primary custody to one parent, with the noncustodial parent having possession every other weekend, Thursday evenings or overnights, 30 days in the summer, and every other spring break, with major holidays also addressed. The court is required to enter an order that is as close to the standard possession order as possible, so long as it is workable and appropriate for the family. For children less than three years old, the court looks at a number of statutory factors to determine what type of order would be appropriate.
How a Houston Child Custody Lawyer can Help
Part of the process of establishing possession and access is coming up with a detailed Parenting Plan that sets out the responsibilities of the parents and every aspect of the custodial relationship – exchanges, pick-ups and drop-offs, last-minute changes, etc. The more detailed the plan, the better it will work. Or course, parents can’t think of everything in advance, so a quality parenting plan will also include a process for making decisions when something unexpected comes up or when parents disagree over a particular matter. Eventually, parents may have to go to court to resolve a dispute, but the favorable approach is to have a process for parents to work out differences among themselves whenever possible.
If the parents can draw up their own parenting plan, the court will review it and approve it if it is in the child’s best interest. Where parents cannot agree, the judge will create the parenting plan. Houston child custody lawyer Maria Lowry assists in the negotiating, drafting and reviewing of parenting plans between parents. In addition, the Law Office of Maria S. Lowry provides strong, effective representation in court when necessary, preparing and presenting persuasive, evidence-based arguments regarding crucial aspects of the parenting plan and custodial orders.
Get Help Today with Houston Child Custody Matters
For sound advice and effective representation in the determination of child custody and visitation in Texas, including conservatorship, possession and access, contact Houston child custody attorney Maria S. Lowry at 713-850-8859.