The Effects of Abuse on Child Custody in Texas

It is an unfortunate truth that violence in the home is more common than any of us would like. When incidents of violence occur in the home it is less likely that anyone else ever becomes aware of the ongoing abuse and its effect. However, when two people are going through a divorce or a child custody dispute these incidents of abuse can suddenly become made known to the world at large.

Courts in Texas take family violence seriously. The victims of family violence are often those who are least equipped to protect themselves- women and children. As a result, if family violence is a part of your life and you find yourself staring at a legal case involving your family it is crucial to receive solid advice on the matter. The family law attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC would like to take this opportunity to discuss some issues surrounding family violence as it pertains to divorce and child custody cases.

Big Picture Consequences for Abusers

Family violence can have a lasting effect on child custody or divorce proceedings. If allegations of abuse are substantiated the abuser can have their visitation severely limited by a court. A judge can order the parties to have visitation for the abuser/parent at a supervised visitation facility near where the parties live.

The abuser/parent will be responsible for paying the costs of the visitation session. Overnight visits are out of the question most likely for an extended period of time while the abusive parent begins to rehabilitate themselves with visits that last typically from 2-4 hours. It is possible for the abusive parent to regain the right to have normal visits with their child but that will take time and typically the approval of a judge to move forward.

Custody Determinations During a Divorce

When a divorce case involves family violence, the court reviews the situation to determine if either party has a history of family violence. If a protective order has been granted within the prior two years, the court will likely order supervised visits and restrict access to the children.

In Texas, the law prevents an abusive parent from becoming a joint managing conservator of their child. This restriction voids the normal rights and duties of parenthood, resulting in decreased authority over child-rearing decisions. Unlike joint managing conservators, a parent who is a possessory conservator does not have access to make educational, medical, and psychiatric choices for the child.

Supervised Visitation Basics

The Effects of Abuse on Child Custody in Texas

Courts typically order supervised visitation when factors like domestic violence, emotional abuse, addiction, or severe mental illness in the home put a child’s safety and well-being at risk. Under these circumstances, only supervision allows the abusive or at-risk parent to visit their child.

Specialized facilities, which host these sessions, might be the location for such visits. However, this option can be expensive since these facilities charge for their services. For instance, Guardians of Hope and the Safe Program in Harris County facilitate such supervised visits.

A family member or close friend supervising the visitation presents an alternative to facility-based supervision. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, demonstrated this approach in a case where a client filed emergency motions against his wife, accused of child harm, to restrict her access and initiate supervised visitations. The client’s mother subsequently hosted these visitations. This option, often preferred for its cost-effectiveness and comfort, takes place in a familiar environment.

However, it requires mutual agreement on the supervisor and the judge’s approval, considering the best interests of the child. The chosen supervisor must willingly accept this responsibility, which can sometimes be a challenging position due to the delicate nature of the situation.

What if the Abuse Has Occurred in the Distant Past?

A judge must determine what ultimately serves the child’s best interests. To do this, the judge considers whether the child faces current or future harm. If the risk is remote, the judge can establish a visitation order that allows for normal possession and access to the child. If not, the judge will most likely implement a supervised visitation plan.

The Attorneys With the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC- Effective Advocates for Families

If your family has seen incidents of family violence occur do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC for a free of charge consultation. Our attorneys can assist you and your family with managing the sometimes difficult aftermath of violence in the home.

In addition, our experience in representing clients across southeast Texas can be a tremendous help when deciding how to best protect your children and yourself. While finding yourself in a situation involving violence is not easy, remember that you do have options and you can take immediate steps to protect the people most important to you.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the effects of abuse on child custody in Texas are significant and prioritize the safety and well-being of the child. Courts in Texas take allegations of abuse very seriously, often leading to supervised visitation or adjusted custody arrangements to protect the child from potential harm.

The state’s legal system structures itself to respond with various protective measures. It involves specialized facilities or trusted family members for supervised visitation, ensuring these measures always place the child’s best interests at the forefront in sensitive situations.


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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Child Custody Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding child custody, it’s important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Child CustodyLawyersright away to protect your rights.

Our child custody lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles child custody cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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