How Is Child Custody Awarded After A Divorce In Houston, Texas?
For parents of young children, going through a divorce is especially complicated. There are many additional legal, emotional, and logistical issues that need to be worked out. You may be wondering: How is child custody determined in a divorce in Texas? The answer depends on a number of different factors that are specific to the individual case. In this blog post, our Houston child custody attorney provides a comprehensive guide to what parents should know about how custody is awarded after a divorce in Texas.
Child Custody is Split Into Two Categories in Texas
To start, it is important to understand that Texas no longer uses the term “custody” in official legal proceedings. Instead, the traditional concepts of child custody and child visitation are covered by the terms conservatorship and possession and access. Here is a brief overview of each:
- Conservatorship: The term conservatorship applies to the rights and responsibilities of the parent. In effect, a conservator is essentially a parent who has legal custody—meaning they have decision-making authority over the child. Parents may be granted a joint managing conservatorship. Alternatively, one parent may be awarded a sole managing conservatorship.
- Possession and Access: Possession and access is a term used to describe the parent who has physical custody of the child. Parents could be awarded joint possession and access subject to a pre-arranged schedule. Alternatively, one parent may be granted primary possession and access. A parent can get primary possession of a child in Texas even if there is a joint managing conservatorship.
Texas Law Favors Shared Parenting (Joint Legal Custody)
While the specific facts of a case always matter, the policy in Texas is clear: Courts strongly favor shared and cooperative parenting. In a divorce, some form of joint custody—usually a joint managing conservatorship—is favored. Unless good cause can be shown to the contrary, a Texas divorce court will start from the presumption that there should be cooperative and shared parenting.
The Best Interests of the Child Resolves Custody Disputes Between Divorcing Parents
Many parents who divorce in Texas are able to reach an agreement on what should happen in regard to their children. However, there are exceptions. Child custody disputes can be especially stressful for parents. In these cases, courts will refer to Tex. Fam. Code § 153.002. The statute holds that the best interests of the child will always be the primary consideration in a custody and visitation dispute. A court will review a wide range of different factors—from each parent’s relationship with the child to each parent’s ability to provide a stable home environment—to determine what type of arrangement is best for the child’s health, well-being, and development.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With Our Houston Child Custody Lawyer
At Lindamood & Robinson, P.C., our Houston child custody attorney is a compassionate, reliable, and solutions-driven advocate for clients. If you are a parent going through a divorce and you have questions about child custody, we are here to help. Call us now or contact us online to set up a fully confidential initial consultation. Our family law firm handles child custody matters in Houston, Harris County, and the surrounding area in Southeast Texas.