Texas Child Custody Laws

Do You Understand the Basics of Texas Child Custody Laws?

Every state has specific rules determining which parents have primary custody of children and Texas child custody laws are no exception. If you are going through a divorce where you have concerns about whether you’ll have shared or primary custody of your child or children, it is vital to get up to speed on the basics of Texas child custody laws. So where do you start?

While lawyers can offer legal advice about Texas custody specifics, you can save time (and your lawyer’s time) by becoming as informed as possible. Even if you don’t grasp every detail, your lawyer will be able to help with information gaps and verify what you’ve already learned in your research.

No matter how hostile you feel towards you soon to be ex-partner, keep in mind that Texas child custody laws are heavily weighted towards allowing both parents equal time with any children. There can be exceptions in cases where proven child abuse or other dangers to children exist. Otherwise, odds are high that both parents will have joint custody.

Even if joint custody is an option, you may opt to work out other arrangements that may be best for any children. For example, if a child goes to a private school and it is far more convenient to stay with one parent during the week (and your former partner agrees), flexible arrangements can be made. It is best to discuss this with the judge during custody hearings, if possible.

There are specific rules that must be met to be eligible for Texas child custody laws. Any children whose welfare will be at stake during a custody battle must have lived in the state for at least 6 months prior to the hearing. In addition, supporting proof that the child went to school in the state during that time and (if appropriate) went to day care while the parents worked are possible ways to meet the residence requirements.

Much confusion exists about fathers who may not be genetically related to any children they are raising. These fathers may pay child support but it is still vital to establish paternity. There are many benefits to this which go beyond the divorce itself, including inheritance laws, so paternity should be proven. Of course, this means that a certain percentage of fathers will discover that they are not actually biological parents of children they have been raising.

Another source of confusion? When both parents can’t agree about child support or visitation, the courts may have to intervene to come to a final decision. This does not mean that one or both parents will go along with the decision. However, even if you or the other parent is not being allowed to visit the children, according to Texas child custody laws child support must still be paid. There is no way to get around that because children have the right to have their basic needs met, including financial support.

Because Texas child custody laws focus on mediation and resolving disagreements about child custody, parents should work on solving issues before they go to court. If not, the resolution decided during custody hearing may not be one that suits both parents. You and your ex may have done better by trying to work out a resolution ahead of time.