Being able to establish custody orders for your child is extremely important. In most circumstances, you will be able to do so with the assistance of the courts through filing a motion to establish custody through a suit affecting the parent-child relationship. This is a tried and true method of establishing custody orders if you and your child’s other parents are not married. Having custody orders established is the first step towards getting visitation, possession, child support, and other rights and duties about that child established legally. Otherwise, view and your kill parrot have nothing but the trust in one another and your mutually held agreements to go off of when it comes to establishing the norms of raising the child together.
Many parents in your position feel comfortable operating under agreements that are done with a handshake. These sorts of agreements can cover topics like child support, visitation, and anything else that you and your Co-parent would like them to. However, there are typically deficiencies in these types of agreements between parents that can oftentimes come back to hurt you or your child in some way. Let’s walk through some of those deficiencies here at the beginning of today’s blog post.
Right off the bat, child custody agreements are typically done orally rather than putting them down and riding. This is difficult for many reasons, but most frequently, it is done for several reasons. For one, it is faster to come up with an oral agreement between your new kick Co-parent than to go to court and have an order signed off on by the judge. Another factor that leads to people engaging in these types of agreements is that the order can be achieved with less money being spent. Finally, an oral agreement can be modified or changed along the way if circumstances dictate.
Next, we see that child custody agreement MU that is done informally 10/2 miss out on important aspects of a child custody case that would otherwise be attended to. For instance, you and your Co-parent may agree that you should receive child support each month on behalf of your child. However, this does not get into how child support may be ended or what circumstances could lead to the child support not being counted. Certainly, these are the sort of details that may be included and child custody orders but would not be if you and your spouse or Co-parent agree informally rather than through the court system.
Another reason why it is not recommended that you enter into informal agreements on child custody with your Co-parent is that either one of you can change the terms of the agreement at any time. At first glance, this may sound appealing. Having an agreement with them that is subject to change can influence both of your behavior negatively. I have seen parents with handshake agreements change their approach at the drop of a hat due to as such, this can put both you and your child other parents in precarious positions when you don’t know how reliable the agreements you came up with are are are with can be.
The best alternative to an informal child custody agreement
With all of this said, the best way for you to have child custody orders that reflect the reality of your child’s life at this moment is to go through the courts to obtain a written order. Hey, a court order signed by all the parties and the judge in your case puts the weight of the law behind the words printed on the paper. For this reason, if either party violates the orders, the other person may file a lawsuit to enforce the orders. This should provide you with some Peace of Mind that even if your Co-parent doesn’t follow the orders specifically, you may hold them accountable for having done so
Please note that the written court orders must be from a family law court. For example, going to your Co-parent and asking them to come up with an agreement for child custody together on the back porch of one of your homes and then signing that agreement when complete is not a great way for either of you to have to solve any issues you have with child custody. While it does a good job of memorializing your agreement, it does not have any specific legal enforceability. What that means is that if one of you violates that agreement, the other cannot take the paperwork to the courthouse to have it enforced.
In reality, that is why you go through the whole process of a child custody case in the 1st place. Namely, you go through the trouble of a child custody case to obtain a court order signed off on by the judge. Not only does that court order contain the agreements to the court, but it allows each of you to refer back to the agreement in the future so that there are no conflicts or disagreements on what is covered. Finally, the agreement will be enforceable by a court.
Filing a child custody lawsuit
It may sound serious, but filing a child custody case in the family courts can be a fairly routine matter. Even if you have never been experienced in filing a legal case before, there are options for you to take advantage of a new artist, streamline the process, and ensure that you can accomplish your goals. The most straightforward way to do so is to get the assistance of then experienced family law attorney to help you file your case and advise you of the best path to take once your case is filed.
A suit affecting the parent-child relationship is the formal title given to a child custody case in Texas. If you are married, then there is a child custody component to your divorce. However, a suit affecting the parent-child relationship only pertains to parents who were never married yet had children together. The suit involving the parent-child relationship well detail who you are, who your child is, and what you seek to accomplish in your case. These details will be spelled out within your petition.
In response to your petition, your Co-parent would file an answer and possibly a counter-petition of their own. From that point, the two of you would be able to negotiate any number of issues that are related to your child custody case. These negotiations would be to avoid the need to attend any contested court hearings or a trial. Of course, have you and your Co-parent not been able to negotiate through the issues successfully, then you will be able to present your case to a judge in either a temporary order hearing or in a trial. The judge will issue orders that will become the marching orders for you and your Co-parent after your case.
Being able to identify the most important issues in your case and focus on them is incredibly important. An attorney’s assistance can help you pinpoint the topics that need to be discussed most frequently during the negotiation stage of your case. The attorney will help you understand how to identify the most critical areas of your case and prepare to negotiate for them. While it is possible to go through a child custody case without an attorney, having a lawyer’s assistance can be a huge help to you and your family.
If you are interested, a consultation with the attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is free of charge and available six days per week. We work with people of all different sorts and do our best to ensure that our attorneys are the most professional, diligent, and prepared in the field of Texas family law if you find that you have a lot going on in your life and need changes to your child custody or visitation orders, please feel free to contact us.
What does it mean to take a chance with an informal custody agreement?
So many parents in our area are leaving to chance the agreements on custody with their child’s other parent. Not only is this risky, but it potentially puts your child in a position where they do not know where they will be spending the night on any given night. This degree of uncertainty can impact their emotional health and also their performance at school. However, simply going to court and filing a custody case can make a tremendous difference in the well-being of your child now and in the future.
Informal custody agreements can work well- until they don’t. A situation that I see repeatedly occurs where you and your co-parent are on good terms and come up with some custody agreements on several issues. Things are going smoothly until one thing or another arises, causing some degree of animosity between you all. The next thing that happens is that the agreements tend to fall apart due to those disagreements. What had worked well between parents for a certain period no longer suits you all based on those changing circumstances.
For example, suppose that you were paying your co-parent a certain sum of child support each month. Neither of you had given too much thought to the amount of child support that had to be paid. No analysis of your child’s needs or specific thoughts has been applied to how long child support would need to go on. However, the amount of child support that you had agreed to informally worked well and helped your co-parent pay for bills and other expenses borne by your child.
That is until the time came when your child had to get some dental work done. Your co-parent came to you asking for more monthly money to be paid, and this caught you off guard. A new figure of child support was never agreed to. As a result, your co-parent filed their suit affecting the parent-child relationship seeking to be named the primary conservator of your child and nailing down a fixed number in terms of child support. This was not exactly what you had in mind when you had agreed to pay child support in the first place. After all, when you lost your job last year, you didn’t try to decrease the amount of child support you were paying her.
Overall, I liken the situation where you pay child support without a court order to a trapeze artist operating without a net underneath them. In that case, the active paying child support without a court order can work well until a disagreement arises. If you want to disagree and you have no court order, you are at the mercy of your Co-parent. You can either agree to pay whatever they are asking you to or run the risk of going to court anyway to have a formal, written order created by the judge.
If you had known that this would happen, you likely would have agreed to go to court or suggested it yourself in the 1st place. Now, you find yourself in a position where you have to negotiate on child support in a setting that is unfamiliar to both of you. Sometimes the backdrop of a case like this can be extremely negative where one of you has been forced by the other to attend court. My recommendation is to speak with your Co-parent early and often once your child is born and mutually agreed to come to court. The process has not taken long and does not have to cost an arm and a leg.
Work with your Co-parent and create the best possible life for your child.
The big thing to keep in mind when it comes to creating court orders is that the purpose of doing so is to benefit your child rather than to benefit you. While you may have some concerns over how the agreement will be created and what a court would say in response to various sorts of evidence put forward in the trial, your job is to think about how you can use this case to benefit your child.
We have already discussed how having an attorney by your side can assist you in this endeavor. Hiring an attorney with a vast amount of family law experience, especially in child custody cases, is possibly the best advantage that you can give yourself. I think that an attorney provides contacts, advice, and a great deal of assistance in drafting court orders. This is an important but oftentimes understated reason why hiring a lawyer is the important period you want your court orders to be clear for everyone to understand but not so complex as to be unable to be followed.
As I mentioned earlier in today’s blog posts, I think it is important for you and your Co-parent to have court orders predictable for your child. Not being able to anywhere your child will be staying daily is difficult not only for you but also for your child. Your child would stand to benefit a great deal from having court orders in place from the perspective of predictability, consistency, instability stability; these are all factors that are not always discussed in the context of a child custody case but are nonetheless very important to children. If you focus on these types of issues, then you will be set up well in your post-child custody case life.
Finally, the process of going through a child custody case can cost you money. However, you can look at it from the perspective that the money you spend on your case now can be an investment in your child’s future. Spending a relatively small amount of money now on your case can avoid unnecessary costs down the line in creating court orders when you and your Co-parent are not on good terms. Hiring an attorney does not mean that you have to mortgage your future or put yourself in a position where you are helping to take on financial responsibilities that you cannot handle. However, what it does mean is that you may have to pay attention 2 the details and begin budgeting for a child custody case sooner rather than later.
Questions about the materials in today’s blog post? contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
if you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great opportunity for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and see how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.
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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 custody lawyers right 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, Houston, 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.