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Resolving Child Custody Disputes

For parents, there is nothing more important than ensuring the well-being of their children. According to the Texas Family Code, it is the policy of the state to ensure children have frequent and ongoing contact with parents who act in their children’s best interest and provide a safe, stable and nonviolent home environment. Texas also encourages parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their children after separation. Whether you are a single parent or are in the midst of a divorce, hiring an experienced family law attorney can help you secure your rights to conservatorship, visitation and child custody.

At Lackey Law Firm, P.C., Alicia Lackey truly understands the difficulty of child custody matters. With her background as an experienced family lawyer, you can rest assured that she will work diligently to achieve a favorable result in your custody case. Whether you need help with an uncontested divorce or have a more complicated case involving domestic violence or substance abuse issues, the guidance of a trusted attorney throughout the process can be invaluable.

What Is Child Custody In Texas?

The following are some of the things to keep in mind when it comes to custody and visitation determinations:

Conservatorship: The Texas Family Code uses the term “conservator” to describe a party’s relationship with a child. In most cases, parties can be appointed as “joint managing conservators” of the children with similar rights and duties. In other situations, it may be in the child’s best interest to appoint one party as the “sole managing conservator” and the other as the “possessory conservator” with different rights and duties.

Possession order: As part of many cases related to the parent-child relationship, the court order will contain a possession schedule that states the days and times children will spend with each party. The Texas Family Code sets the standard possession order for most Texas families, but custom possession orders can also be created to meet the needs of the parents and children.

Electronic communication: Sometimes court orders need to outline the specific terms of communication each parent is granted with their children while the other parents have custody of them. The court may sometimes restrict or explicitly allow certain modes of communication — such as phone calls, text messages and emails — that parents may use with their children in accordance with custody orders.

Child Custody Arrangement Options In Texas

When you’re separated from your child’s other parent and don’t have a custody order in place, it’s important to understand your options with regard to child custody. Without an order in place, you may end up entangled in disagreements and uncertainty. A custody order can clearly outline each parent’s rights and responsibilities.

Texas law uses different terms than other states when it comes to child custody. Conservatorship refers to the parents’ legal decision-making authority. There are multiple types of conservatorship arrangements:

  • Sole managing conservatorship means one parent has the legal right to make significant decisions for the child, such as where they live, their medical care, and their education. A judge may grant sole custody if the other parent is unfit due to reasons like abuse, neglect or absence from the child’s life.
  • A possessory conservator, on the other hand, has visitation rights and can make minor decisions during their time with the child. However, they generally don’t have a role in making major decisions about the child’s life.
  • With a joint managing conservatorship, both parents share the rights and responsibilities of raising their child. This doesn’t necessarily mean equal time with the child, but it does mean both have a say in important decisions.

In rare cases, a nonparent can obtain conservatorship if both parents are found to be unfit. All custody decisions are based on the best interests of the child.

Standard Possession Order: Structuring Your Time

A Standard Possession Order (SPO) outlines the visitation schedule for the nonprimary conservator. It typically allows the child to spend time with the nonprimary parent on weekends, holidays and during summer vacation. However, it’s important to tailor the schedule to meet your children’s needs.

Suits Affecting The Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR)

This broad term refers to court proceedings impacting parents’ and children’s rights. It can address issues such as:

The process for navigating these cases can be complex. It may involve numerous hearings, thorough documentation, meticulous paperwork and court-appointed experts such as child custody evaluators. It’s important to have a skilled attorney by your side throughout the process to help you pursue a resolution that serves the best interest of your child.

Contact An Attorney For Help With Your Custody Matter

If you need help with a child custody or visitation matter, call our firm today at 888-705-0307 to schedule a consultation at our Fredericksburg, New Braunfels, Austin or Corpus Christi offices.* You may also schedule a consultation by completing our online contact form.

Suggested Reading

Can you parent collaboratively after a divorce?

Can I get sole custody?

Creating a child custody schedule that works for you

*Main office is located in Austin, Texas. All office locations are staffed by appointment only.