Being able to spend as much time with your children is a reasonable goal to have when you embark upon a family law case. Be it a divorce or child custody case, many parents enter the case with the simple goal of maintaining a strong relationship with their children no matter what must be done. Whether you are filing a divorce or child custody case, responding to a case, or simply trying to learn what the next best step to take is we at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are here to help. It can be a complicated journey to make but we can assure you that there are steps to take that can maximize your chances of success no matter what your goals are.
If you are a father who is going through any child custody or divorce case, then it may feel like the odds are stacked against you as far as accomplishing goals at all. No matter the strides that fathers make when it comes to parenting their children, there tends to be a misconception that fathers hold regarding family law cases. Right off the bat, the attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan would like to share with you that there is no bias or favoritism under the law in favor of mothers when it comes to family law cases. This means that you should not go into your case assuming the worst.
Many fathers begin their family law cases with a disadvantaged mindset as far as what they can accomplish. There may be many reasons for this, but the simple truth is that fathers assume that because mothers more often end up as the primary conservators of children the same will occur in their case. When that happens, the case may as well be over with before it begins. Fathers do not negotiate as well and do not accomplish their goals when they assume that the case is over before it begins. If you are a dad who finds himself facing a child custody case in Texas, then today’s blog post is for you.
What does custody mean in Texas?
This may seem to be too simple a question to even bother asking at first glance. However, we know from experience that many parents do not have a clear understanding of what a family law case involves when the case is first filed. When this happens, you are at a major disadvantage when it comes to figuring out how to set an accomplished goal in your case. When you have questions about what a family law case even is and what you need to do during the case then it will be unrealistic to expect you to have well-thought-out goals with a plan to achieve them.
For starters, the term custody does not appear in the Texas Family Code. This is one of the most surprising things for a father to learn as he embarks on a family law case. We hear about the term custody so much in the context of a family law case that many people understandably believe that it is a major part of the Texas Family Code. However, the term does exist in Texas family law, although you will not find it if you look through the Texas Family Code.
However, what custody represents in the eyes and minds of many Texas parents does come up within the family code and in Texas law. For starters, a family law case is comprised both of matters related to time with your children as well as rights and duties as they pertain to raising your kids. Both are important components. I think it is worthwhile for us to spend some time today discussing each of these topics before we engage in any more complex discussion on achieving goals within the setting of a family law case.
To begin with, possession of your children is a major part of a child custody case. Talking with parents from all different backgrounds, being able to maintain as much time with your children it’s possible is a commonly held goal. One of the major concerns that many parents have at the beginning of a family law case is that something will happen during the case where the parent will lose a substantial amount of time with their children. For the most part, this concern is unwarranted. Not much can happen in a family law case that sees your time with the children severely reduced. That’s not to say that you might not lose some time with your children because of the case. However, parents generally share in possession time with their children because of a family law case.
The key to this discussion, of course, is trying to figure out how much time you are in line for when it comes to your case. As a father, your child’s mother may have alluded to the idea that she expects to be named as the parent who can spend most of the time with the children. In some cases, your co-parent may have been explicit or even brazen and stating what her expectations are for the case. As a well-meaning father who probably has little experience in these matters may have even taken her words to heart and assumed that you stood no chance at being anything more than a part-time dad moving forward. As we will discuss momentarily, this is a mistaken assumption it is not something that you should embody by any means.
A possession schedule for your children will be developed because of the family law case. This provides predictability and consistency for children when it comes to being able to spend time with their parents. A possession schedule will spell out which parent has possession of the children on each day of the year. The typical breakdown for possession can vary depending on your specific circumstances. However, under a standard possession order, both you and your child’s mother will have extended periods of continuous possession of the children as well as shorter periods throughout the year.
So much of the possession-related questions in your case will depend upon the specific circumstances that you and your family find yourselves in. Your personal history of involvement with your children, the role you have played to that point, the wishes of your children as well as your work schedule will determine in large part how the possession schedule looks for your family moving forward. When it comes to negotiating a case as well as presenting your facts and circumstances in a trial or temporary orders hearing it is important to put your best foot forward. As a result, working with an experienced attorney can make a tremendous difference. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are ready and willing to meet with you to discuss your case and to help you in whatever circumstances you find yourself. A free-of-charge consultation with our office is available by phone, in person, and via video.
The other major area of a child custody case is conservatorship issues. Conservatorship has to do with the rights and duties that you hold concerning your children. This is what many parents think about when they talk about the term custody. It may be that custody is just an easier word to say and is certainly shorter. However, conservatorship is the legal term that is utilized in the Texas family code and it’s one that you should familiarize yourself with as it pertains to your family law case. Let’s discuss in greater detail what these specific rights and duties are that may become a factor in your family law case as it pertains to your children.
To begin with, the major rights and duties relating to your children have to do with their health, emotional development, and education. For starters, most parents in a family law case are named as joint managing conservators of their children. Under a joint managing conservatorship, parents share in the conservatorship rights and duties related to their kids. Much of the time, these rights and duties are held jointly with your co-parent. This means that decisions are rarely made on your own when it comes to your children. On the contrary, most decisions are made in combination with your co-parent, hopefully after a diligent discussion is had between the two of you.
When parents are jointly managing the conservatorship issues of their children it requires a good faith effort to co-parent as a team. This can be a substantial challenge for many families in your position considering the difficulties you had doing so while living together in the same household. Now that you are living apart there is an even greater challenge in this regard. You and your co-parent should strive to work together as best as possible when it comes to matters related to your children. I realized that this was not necessarily one of the topics that you had bargained on hearing about in today’s blog post. However, we believe that it is important to mention, nonetheless.
Sharing educational, medical, and other rights and duties places a heavy emphasis on families to be able to sort through differences of opinion and make decisions based on the best interests of the children. This is the legal standard that a judge would utilize to make decisions regarding child custody matters on behalf of your children. It is also the presumption that a court will hold regarding matters to move that into your kids that you make. It is assumed that you will be making decisions based on the best interests of your children. This can sometimes be difficult to do considering that you have your intentions and beliefs about what is in your own best interests.
Do not underestimate the importance of being able to make decisions on behalf of your children. This is true regarding two specific areas that many parents have no trouble focusing on concerning a family life case. Those areas are child support and the ability to determine the primary residence of your children. When it comes to child support, the parent who lives with the children primarily will receive child support in almost every situation. Therefore, being able to determine the primary residence of your children is the most sought-after right that you can pursue.
Now that we have discussed this subject further, we can talk about what it means for a father to become involved in a family law case. From the standpoint of most dads, you may be entering into a case with very low expectations about what you can accomplish and what the case will ultimately hold for you. Here are some basic pieces of information that you can consider now that you are about to begin your family law case.
Can a dad win 50% custody in a family law case?
Yes, a father can win 50% custody of their children in a family law case. With that said, the specific circumstances of your situation are what will determine this. Make no mistake, many fathers are well positioned to be able to win 50% of the possession time with their children if not more. However, whether you are in that position is what ultimately will make a difference to you and your children. We are going to spend the rest of our time in this blog post discussing the factors that matter concerning the subject. From there, you can decide on your own about where you stand and what your chances are of accomplishing whatever goals you have in that case.
To begin with, most child custody cases are decided in mediation rather than in litigation. Litigation refers to using the courts to sort out differences of opinion between you and your co-parent. So far in today’s blog post, we have been discussing many areas of the law that may be different in practice than they are in the popular imagination of most fathers going through family law cases. You can count this as one of the areas we are talking about where surprises can come up in a family law case. Many fathers assume that a judge will be deciding all these issues for you and your co-parent. However, most of the time you and your co-parent will settle these subjects outside of a courtroom.
When it comes to custody time with children your history of parenting the kids will make the biggest difference. If you have been a major part of your child’s life to this point, then there is no reason to expect that you will not be able to continue in that role moving forward. By the same token, if you have not played a major role in the life of your children to this point then it is equally unlikely that you would be able to have a split custody situation with your children.
This is the difficult part for many fathers as they begin a family law case. When you are managing a case that can mean being honest with yourself when it comes to difficult subjects like your relationship with your children as well as the amount of time that you have been able to spend with them to this point. When fathers talk about having problems being able to when on the important subjects of a family law case this is most likely what day are talking about. The simple truth of the matter is that family law judges will make decisions based on the best interests of your children as well as your specific circumstances. If your specific circumstances are that you have not spent much time with your children as far as raising them on a day-to-day basis, then you are not likely to when as much time with them as you would like.
Be honest with yourself about your relationship with your children and your history of parenting them. You have as much of a right to spend time with your children as does your co-parent. However, your ability to win the rights, duties, and time with your children that you want depends in large part on your history of parenting. When so much of a case depends upon presenting a clear-cut image of yourself as a parent it pays to have a diligent and experienced attorney on your side. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan thanks you for spending time with us today and we hope that you will contact us if you have a question about what you have read or if you are interested in learning more about our firm.
Questions about the material presented 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 consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as how your family may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody lawsuit.