Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody
In Texas, there are two types of child custody or conservatorship — legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody determines the parent who has the right and responsibility to make crucial life decisions that affect their children. Legal custody may be sole or joint. The parent with legal custody makes key decisions about the child's education, health care, religion, and other important life matters.
Physical custody determines the parent with whom the child will live. Depending on the surrounding circumstances, physical custody may either be shared equally or unequally between both parents.
Factors To Consider When Determining Custody
According to the Texas Statutes Family Code Chapter 153, the court believes in joint managing conservatorship. Nonetheless, the child's best interest surpasses all other considerations. Here are some factors considered when determining child custody in Texas:
- The child's preference or wishes
- The current and future physical and emotional needs of the child
- The ability of each parent to meet the child's needs
- The parenting abilities of each parent
- The willingness of each parent to establish a relationship between the child and the other parent
- Each parent's ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child
- The moral fitness, physical health, and mental health of each parent
- Evidence or history of domestic violence, abuse, or omission that indicates parental unfitness
- The available or proposed programs to help each parent promote the child's best interest
Before granting a divorce, Texas courts usually require all divorcing parents who have minor children to complete a mandatory parenting class. The purpose of the parenting class is to help both the parents and their children deal with the trauma that comes with a divorce or legal separation. The requirement can be fulfilled online at an affordable cost.
Modifying an Existing Child Custody Arrangement
Under Texas law, either parent may file a petition seeking modification of child custody at any time. However, the parent seeking to modify the custody order must demonstrate that:
- The child is at least 12 years old and wishes to change the primary caregiver
- There has been a substantial change in circumstances since the original order was made
- The proposed modifications to the order would serve the child's best interests
There are certain major life events that give you the opportunity to request a change to your existing child custody agreement. These include:
- Involuntary loss of job
- The other parent isn't holding up their end of the agreement
- Medical condition
- Substance abuse
- Child abuse or neglect by either parent
- Changes in the parent's marital status
Work With Experienced Child Custody Attorneys in Corpus Christi, Texas
Establishing or modifying a child custody arrangement can be an emotional experience. Trying to agree on parental responsibility and allocating parenting time to your estranged spouse can make the process even more difficult and overwhelming. Therefore, consulting with a knowledgeable Texas child custody attorney is crucial for proper guidance and to protect your family's best interest and future.
The Torres Attorneys are highly experienced and knowledgeable in family law, divorce, and child custody matters. As your attorneys, we will offer you the comprehensive legal guidance you need to establish or modify a child custody arrangement. Our team will work diligently with all parties involved to establish a fair parenting arrangement, including child custody, visitation periods, and other parental responsibilities.