When faced with the responsibility of protecting the safety and well-being of your children, it is imperative that you select a child custody lawyer who can:
- educate you on your rights and obligations,
- inform you of your legal options, and
- Pursue an amicable solution if possible but to also be ready, willing and able to fight for your children’s best interest if necessary.
The child visitation and child custody lawyers at The Ashmore Law Firm are experts at evaluating child custody and visitation disputes and developing a plan for achieving the best results possible. This will provide your children with a custody plan that will give them the stability and continuity that they need. Whether your case must be handled through the courts or whether it can be resolved amicably with the use of mediation, you can count on the child custody lawyers of the Ashmore Law Firm to help you.
Our child custody attorneys understand that no two child custody situations are the same. Our experienced child custody lawyers are committed to providing the highest level of personalized attention, compassion, and respect.
We understand how emotionally overwhelming child custody disputes can be — especially with the possibility of having to assert or defend your position in court. In addition to having decades of experience handling custody cases, the team at The Ashmore Law Firm will treat your case with the highest level of importance and priority and recommend the process that is most effective and least destructive to your family.
Custody vs. Conservatorship?
In Texas, the term “conservatorship” is used the same way most people refer to “custody.” Therefore, the parent that has custody of the child is known as the “conservator.” A few terms that stem from this are:
Two types of conservators:
- Managing conservator
- Possessory conservator
Two additional sub-categories:
- Sole managing conservator
- Join managing conservator
Types of Child Custody in Texas
Child custody can be arranged in several different ways. Both parents can have equal custody of the children after separation, or one parent may have majority or sole custody. Normally, the court arranges, or orders this, after evaluating evidence presented about each parent and their relationship with their children. Also, the court will need to evaluate whether parents can work together in a joint custody relationship and how likely they are to follow the courts orders.
Joint CustodyWhen both parents have some degree of custody over the children.
Sole CustodyWhen one parent has primary custody over the child.
Legal CustodyDesignated for the parent who makes decisions about a child’s education, medical care, religion, and general welfare.
Physical CustodyDesignated for the parent that owns the residence where the child lives.
The courts can award joint legal or physical custody and may require ex- spouses to split their time with the child equally or in a percentage that is most convenient.
The court will also encourage the parents to have enough clarity in their parenting schedules to allow for regular holidays, vacations and other celebrations so that the children can count on as much stability and continuity as possible. A lot of weight is given to the parent who is likely to encourage as much uninterrupted time with both parents as possible unless circumstances are presented that would convince the court that this is not possible and that it would be inconsistent with the child’s best interest or safety.
Be sure to provide details and as much evidence to your child custody lawyer if such circumstances exist in your specific situation.
How Does the Court Determine the Best Interests of the Child?
If the court is responsible for determining child custody in your case because you could not come to an agreement by yourselves or through mediation, then the judge will decide the matter based on evidence and what they conclude to be the best interests of the child.
In order to act in the best interests of the child, the court evaluates:
- The child's relationship with both parents
- The parents' willingness to allow the child to have a relationship with the other parent
- Each parents' location
- The parents' history with alcohol, drugs or other harmful substances
- The parents' ability to work well together
- The health, age, and well-being of both parents
- Any other evidence that the court sees as helpful in determining the best interest of a child.
Why Mediation Benefits Both Parties
The courts encourage spouses to work through child custody plans together if possible with a mediator. At the The Ashmore Law Firm, your lawyer can provide you with trustworthy and helpful mediator services if mediation would serve your situation best. In mediation, you and your spouse will meet and calmly work out a custody plan that works best for both of you -- one that helps the children. This meeting will be in private and will be completely confidential as opposed to an open courtroom. This can help keep your children out of court and maintain a calm atmosphere in the home. It can also establish an atmosphere where you and your spouse will work together to resolve issues relating to your children as opposed to turning to the courts. It is also well-established that parents are more likely to follow the terms of an agreement when it is a result of an agreement as opposed to a court order.
Modification of Parenting Plans
Finally, Texas law and the courts understand that circumstances change. Accordingly, custody orders can be modifiable based on evidence that there have been substantial change in circumstances since the last order on custody. If the court is convinced that a child’s circumstances have substantially changed, the court can examine the factors listed above to decide if the parenting arrangement should also change.
Regardless of how complicated your matter may seem, you can count on the team at The Ashmore Law firm to do everything in our power to help you reach a favorable result.
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