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Child Custody and Divorce in Spring, TX

This article is going to address the ins and outs and all the details that you will need to know about child custody in Texas. Usually, if you have children, and you are going through a divorce, this information will be important to you.

The Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC will help equip you with the information you need so that you are prepared and know what to expect about child custody.

Is court my only option?

Divorce and custody are legal processes outlined by Texas statutes and laws. Many people have preconceived notions that they are going to have to go into that courtroom and they are going to have taken the stand. As a result, many divorcing spouses have additional anxiety.

The fact is that in many cases it is not necessary to court, to take the stand, and to have a Judge make decisions for you and your spouse. About 90% of cases in Houston and Conroe, Texas will settle outside of the courtroom. There are several reasons why you may want to consider handling your divorce this way.

One reason is that court can be very time-consuming and inefficient. An example of this would be that you attempt to schedule your child custody hearing but the first available court date is not until four to six months. On the day of court you show up, and a Trial from the prior in the week is still ongoing so the Judge will not be able to get to your case that day and you will have to reschedule your court date.

Another possibility is that your case is low on the court’s docket list, in such a situation depending on how long it takes the court to deal with the other cases your case may be moved to another day. Another possibility is that the attorney for the other parent, asks for a continuance.

There are several reasons why a court may not hear your case on the date it is originally scheduled. This can be very inconvenient and costly having to take off work or arrange child care. This can awkward when there is no clear defined schedule for visitation schedule for your child and the other parent.

Sometimes in these situations, there is tension between you and the other parent. If the court date is rescheduled you might be waiting another couple of months before you have a decision from the court.

One reason you might want to consider avoiding court is cost. When custody issues are litigated, legal fees can skyrocket. Once the litigation process begins the workload for your attorney increases because there is trial prep, depositions, discovery, and several other things that are necessary to prepare for your trial.

One other reason why going to court may not be the best option is the uncertainty of the outcome. Judges have a lot of discretion in their rulings. A Judge will listen to your testimony and the testimony of the other parent. A Judge will then hear the testimony of any witnesses. It can be difficult to know whose testimony a Judge will find the most credible.

You may have no idea while the Judge is sitting on the bench who the Judge believes. When you go to Court you are putting the entire decision in a Judge’s hands.

For these reasons, it is often best to reach some sort of an agreement outside of court. If that is not possible there is always an opportunity to go to Court.

Reaching an Agreement

Agreements reached with your spouse outside of court regarding custody, help you both maintain control over the process. You and your spouse are the ones who are driving the negotiations. You both will have the ability to be creative regarding scheduled visitation. You and your spouse are aware of each other’s schedules as well as the schedule of your child this will help you both determine the best schedule to follow for your particular situation.

But when you maintain control over that process, you’re driving those negotiations and you’re able to keep your hand on the pulse of what’s going on, you’re not just passing it off to the judge. This also tends to make the parents stay more amicable. As soon as that lawsuit is filed, you begin the process of trial preparation. We’ve noticed that the gloves come off at that point. The parents tend to break down any ability that they previously had to communicate and be co-parents ceases as soon as that lawsuit is filed.

A Court does not like to create when comes to child visitation. A court is going to want to follow the presumption under the Texas Family Code which is a Texas Standard Possession Order.

What Makes Up a Child Custody Agreements?

Child Custody Agreements need to address the following:

  1. A regular custodial visitation schedule as well as a holiday visitation schedule.
  2. Child Support
  3. Medical Support
  4. Rights and Duties

Sometimes Custody Agreements include special provisions regarding:

  1. Passport provisions
  2. Domestic Travel
  3. A Right of First Refusal
  4. Injunctions regarding certain behavior

Another provision that some parents want to include in the agreement is a “morality clause” or language regarding overnight guests whom a parent has a romantic relationship with. Sometimes this is done by putting parameters in the agreement such as “No one is permitted to have an overnight involving a romantic relationship while in possession of the child until they have dated for 6 months or more.” This is such a clause that is possible to agree to but a Texas court is unlikely to order it after a divorce.

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