Galveston County Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody issues are some of the most emotional and complex legal matters that our lawyers handle at Lindamood & Robinson, P.C. These types of disputes can be especially difficult for minors, whose feelings often get overlooked amidst the stress and confusion of divorce. We are well aware of the emotional toll that custody disputes can take on our clients’ children and we do our best to shield them from the more stressful proceedings. Contact our experienced Galveston County child custody lawyers today, we can help.
Texas Child Custody Determinations
In Texas, the law clearly defines the rights and duties of parents in regards to their children. Unfortunately, dividing up these right and duties when a couple divorces can become complicated. After reviewing the evidence, the court will resolve any disagreements by creating a Standard Possession Order (SPO). These orders clearly lay out each parent’s rights and responsibilities as well as more specific requirements, such as where the child will live and go to school and which parent will have primary responsibility for making medical decisions.
Most SPO’s divide the child’s time equally and lay out guidelines for visitation. In Texas, family courts generally prefer to create joint custody arrangements, in which both parents share decision making responsibilities and have access to the child. However, there are as many types of custody agreements as there are families, each of which has its own unique dynamic and history.
Our Galveston County lawyers have handled a variety of cases, all involving their own complicated issues, including:
- International custody and visitation disputes;
- Allegations of domestic violence or substance abuse;
- Parental alienation;
- Split custody;
- Parental relocation;
- Children who have special health or educational needs; and
- Division caused by religious disagreements.
Drafting a Parenting Plan
Before obtaining an order, the child’s parents can collaborate to develop their own parenting plan. These plans lay out the logistics of the custody agreement, including parental responsibilities and time sharing. Parents who work together to create a parenting plan are often able to cut down on some of the expense and time spent in court, which in turn can create a smoother transition for the couple’s child. In some cases, collaboration is not possible, in which case, a judge will make his or her own determination prior to drafting the order.
Unmarried Parents and Determining Custody
Unmarried parents have the same rights and duties to their children as do married couples. Even if a couple never married, they must still go through the custody process if they choose to separate. Establishing paternity is often an important aspect of these cases.
Modifying Child Custody and Visitation Orders
Sometimes plans change and custody agreements have to be modified to reflect these changes. For example, the parent with primary physical custody may be forced to obtain new employment, requiring relocation of the child. In an effort to cause as little disruption as possible to the child’s life and schedule, courts will only modify custody and visitation agreements if circumstances have changed to such a degree that the order is no longer fair or feasible for the parties. Courts have deemed that the following changes warrant a modification:
- The visitation has become difficult for the child or the parents;
- The custodial parent plans to relocate without giving the other party notice, thus placing an undue burden on the parent seeking visitation; and
- A child, over the age of 12 years old, prefers a different arrangement and is willing to file an affidavit explaining with which parent he or she wants to live.
There are no specific legal rights granted to grandparents seeking visitation with a grandchild, although grandparents are permitted to file a petition with the court requesting access to their grandchild. These cases can be difficult as they usually stem from an acrimonious relationship between one of the parents and a grandparent. Our experienced family law lawyers have become adept at balancing the competing interests of the parties while addressing grandparent rights in relation to the child’s well-being.
Contact a Galveston County Child Custody & Visitation Lawyer
If you live in Galveston County and are involved in a custody-related matter, please contact one of our experienced child custody and visitation lawyers at Lindamood & Robinson, P.C. by calling 281-486-6116 and a member of our dedicated legal team will help you set up a consultation.