Couples contemplating divorce generally have many questions concerning child custody laws in Texas. In this post, we lay out some of the basics, and address some common concerns.

At Angela Faye Brown & Associates we specialize in child custody law. We help divorcing couples manage their separation in the best interests of their child. This often means advocating on behalf of one parent who considering the larger picture. Contact us today for a consultation. We can begin talking about your situation as well as the pertinent child custody laws in Texas that may apply.

What Is Joint Custody? What Is Sole Custody?

Child custody laws in Texas differentiate between different kinds of custody. The first is conservatorship; the second is possession and access.

Conservatorship refers to decisions made on behalf of the child. This may include decisions on schooling, medical decisions, psychiatric decisions, and so on. One parent can manage all of these decisions in the case Sole Managing Conservatorship, or both parents can make these decisions in the case of Joint Conservatorship.

Possession and access refer to custody in the way we would normally think of it. In other words, it refers to who the child is with and where the child is. Generally speaking, a child is allowed access to both parents and they must agree on a schedule or accept a court-directed schedule.

In each case, the court considers the best interests of the child when determining conservatorship or access.

Who Receives Child Support?

Typically, children of a divorced couple will stay with the parent with primary custody. That parent will receive child support from the other parent. But there are a number of other considerations to bear in mind when considering primary custody.

The courts generally assume that whoever is the primary caregiver will be responsible for seeing them to and from school. They will be primarily responsible for their emotional support, moral upbringing, and financial support. They will be responsible for preparing meals for the child, clothing the child, and purchasing other necessities. The courts may consider one residence to be superior to the other if for no other reason than living there will afford the child access to the same school district they were in before. In that case, the child is likely to remain in the same house.

None of this means that one parent is superior to the other. It’s simply in the child’s best interest to maintain some semblance of familiarity in their day-to-day lives. Divorces can be difficult for children. The court considers the impact of that and tends not to disrupt the child’s current situation more than it has to.

Can I Refuse Visitation If My Ex-Spouse Fails to Pay Child Support?

No. Child custody laws in Texas treat these as two separate matters. It’s important not to deprive your children access to your former spouse even if they are behind in their support payments. On the other hand, you can bring this up at court and the court will consider this when determining if the current visitation schedule is appropriate. You must not, however, take it upon yourself to break the schedule.

How Do Parenting Plans and Visitation Work?

You may feel as though you’ve worked everything out with your former spouse and you don’t need the court to intervene. That’s a mistake. Even a situation that goes smoothly for months is subject to change suddenly. Having a legally binding arrangement that can be amended when it needs to be is the best avenue for both the parents and the children.

Parenting plans establish the rights and duties of each parent in regards to the children. They establish both conservatorship and access. They define a visitation schedule. It’s important to have this in writing and to file this agreement with the court.

Speak to a Child Custody Attorney Today

Angela Faye Brown & Associates helps divorcing parents establish parenting plans that are in the best interests of the child. If you have any questions concerning child custody laws in Texas, contact us today. We can inform you of your options and guide you through this difficult process.