The Road to Clarity Parental Rights and Child Custody in Texas

Picture this. You are embarking upon a contested child custody case with your co-parent. Your concerns lie mainly in never having been through a legal case of any kind before. Now you are looking at a situation where your first endeavor into the court system relates to your children. Not exactly the easiest way to embark on a journey through our legal system. There are so many stressful aspects to a child custody case. Where do you begin to evaluate your case?

Sound anything like what you are going through right now? If it does, then you are not alone. Many parents in your shoes feel the same way that you do right now. Fearful of the future, many parents will delay even going to court. Their perspective is that it is better to remain in whatever situation you currently find yourself in than to venture out to better your children’s lives. The devil you know is preferable to the devil you don’t, in other words. 

Don’t let this be you. In today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we are going to discuss child custody in the context of parental rights and duties. Our experienced team of family law attorneys knows that there is a lot on your plate right now. It feels overwhelming. However, that is where we come in. This blog post is going to be a source of clarity in a world that is constantly changing and buzzing with activity. Allow us to spend some time with you today about child custody

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Knowledge is incredibly important in the world of a Texas child custody case. Knowing the process, the laws, and of your case means that you are a step ahead of your co-parent and their attorney. A child custody case is not a competition in and of itself. However, the case takes on that persona due to the high stakes which are involved. The rights and duties of a parent as contained in final orders are finite. Meaning that you and your co-parent are not able to invent rights and duties out of thin air. 

What does this mean for your family? You need to figure out a way to effectively manage the rights and duties that exist for a parent under the law in Texas. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan is skilled at helping families like yours manage those rights and duties. We take the time to learn what matters most to your family and you. From there, we help to develop a strategy aimed at accomplishing your goals for the case.

To find out more about our office and to experience a free-of-charge consultation simply call our office today. We offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone and via video. A consultation with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan involves you meeting with an experienced family law attorney. This is someone who works with families just like yours in the real world of Texas family law. Thank you for coming by and with all of that said, let’s discuss some important topics related to child custody law in Texas

Consider why you are in the child custody case

Before we begin going through rights, duties, and child custody it is important to stop and consider why you are here. This is not an existential or philosophical question. Take a moment to figure out why you are in a family law case in the first place. What have you done, what has your co-parent done and where have you two fallen short in parenting your children? Every parent has a part to play in arriving at a point in a child custody case like this. Identifying what brings you here helps you to identify where you need to get to. 

Many parents in your shoes will scoff at the idea that they did anything to bring about this case. That their co-parent caused all the problems in their relationship. Parenting problems simply followed the relationship problems, there wasn’t anything else that could be done. Well, this is a mistake. Take inventory of your own life at this stage. Good and bad. We all have good attributes in our parenting. However, we all have things we need to work on. Having that level of humility helps a great deal. 

Next, consider your children and what they need. Not what you think they need concerning you. Consider your children as individuals and determine what you think they need to succeed. One of the difficult aspects of a family law case is that you need to figure out that your children have interests that may not align with yours. It’s hard to say this for a small child or even for bigger kids. After all, you’ve raised the kids from the day they were born. However, children have best interests that do not always align with their parents. 

Determining the best interests of your children

The overarching goal of a Texas child custody case is to establish parental rights and duties relating to a child. A right is the ability for you as a parent to make decisions on behalf of a child. These can be decisions to receive medical care, attend school, or practice a certain religion. By the same token, you as a parent also have duties concerning your child. These duties include the responsibility to provide materially for your child when it comes to housing, food, shelter, and education.

Rights and duties form the bedrock of a child custody order. An order is a listing of these rights in duties in writing. You, your co-parent, your attorneys, and the judge will sign the orders in your case. This makes those orders enforceable in the future should either you or your co-parent violate them. Working with a skilled and experienced family law attorney helps ensure your orders are written and protects you and your children in the future. 

When you have your child’s best interests at heart it is hard to go wrong. The best interests of your child include things like their physical well-being, mental well-being, health, academic success, safety, your ability to parent your child (and that of your co-parent) in addition to a range of other factors. A family court judge makes decisions on the best interests of your child if you and your co-parent are unable to do so. 

Working with a co-parent in a child custody case

An underrated part of negotiating a child custody order is the ability to communicate effectively with your co-parent. Starting, you know that the two of you are not on the best of terms at this moment. Very few parents who are getting along great and not experiencing any issues in their relationship find themselves involved in a family law case. As a result, assuming that the negotiating process is a foregone conclusion may come naturally to you. 

However, if you want your child custody case to be as productive as possible then you should think twice. It is crucial for the success of your case for you and your co-parent to work together effectively in negotiations. Admittedly, working together effectively means different things for different people. Depending upon the strength of your relationship then the amount of work you two can accomplish together varies a great deal. In other words, it is fair to think about your inherent limitations when it comes to communication before setting unreachable goals. 

Consider the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan as a great resource and help during a family law case. We offer the sort of negotiation skills that you need to be an effective parent during a child custody case. What you are not able to do in negotiations we can assist you with. Our attorneys don’t make decisions for you during a family law case. Rather, we see to it that you possess sufficient knowledge to make good decisions for your family and yourself. 

Looking back at your parenting life helps you to look forward to your future

The reality of a child custody case is that a great deal of the decisions made within your case are determined by your past actions and habits as a parent. The specific rights and duties you negotiate for yourself are all done against a backdrop of your history as a parent. Meaning: you cannot outrun your past deeds- good or bad. The role you have filled in the life of your children to this point is likely where you will end up after the case. 

That’s not to say that some parents do not try to mask their past parenting efforts by acting like Super Mom or Super Dad in the time immediately before and during a child custody case. This looks like taking on extra responsibilities, paying for all the expenses, and generally being as present as possible. What this attempts to do is overshadow a person’s past role as a non-participatory or absent parent.

For the most part, your co-parent and the judge can see through an act like this. Many parents in your shoes look for the shortcut toward success in a family law case. However, there are none to be found. Rather, your job as a parent is to focus on the well-being of your child and to establish goals for your case based on that well-being. This centers you as a parent and helps you to manage the case much more effectively. 

Rights and duties mean conservatorship

So far in today’s blog post, we have referred to yours as a child custody case. When you begin the case, this is the language you hear most often used. However, the term “child custody” does not appear in the Texas Family Code. Rather, the term that the Code utilizes to refer to these issues is conservatorship. Conservatorship ties together the rights and duties of parents concerning their children. Thus, as a parent in a child custody case, you are working to protect your conservatorship rights and duties related to your children. 

Conservatorship refers to the ability of one person to care for the best interests of another person. To put the best interests of that other person in front of their own best interests. An attorney must do this with their clients. This is known as a fiduciary relationship. However, being a parent means much more than being a fiduciary. A fiduciary relationship ends at the termination of a contract or the completion of a predetermined matter. A parent-child relationship lasts forever in a real-world sense. In a legal sense, the parent-child relationship as far as rights and duties ends when your child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever happens later. 

So, for a child custody case, it is crucial to understand that the language used in the context of a case is not the same as what is found in the Texas Family Code. Do not attempt to crack open the code book and expect to find the word “custody” anywhere. Rather, you are working within the framework of a conservatorship case which masquerades as a child custody case. Understanding this distinction is a small step toward better understanding the overall child custody case process.

Rights and duties versus time spent with children

Some parents express their main interest in a child custody case as earning as much visitation time with their child as possible. Simply being able to physically possess your child more often than your co-parent is what matters most in this context. The trouble with this as your main objective is that it misses the forest for the trees, Meaning- when you put physical possession of your child above all other possible goals you are not identifying where the right to physical possession comes from.

A parent gains their rights to be physically with their children from conservatorship rights. This is where parents make their mistakes. They focus so hard on time issues and not enough on the overall subject of rights and duties. Therefore, you should remember that the ability of parent to be with their child depends upon these parenting rights and duties. We as parents want to be with our children as much as possible. This goal should not come at the expense of other worthwhile goals and aspirations in a child custody case. 

The other areas of your child’s life- their education, health, and relationships with your family- matter a great deal. The more focus you have on all of these areas the more well-rounded of a child yours will become. There is no doubt that you want what is best for your child. However, arriving at an outcome for the case that incorporates your child’s best interests is the tricky part. You need to determine the road map which helps you arrive at that outcome.

Working with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan in a child custody case

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are the representatives you need for your child custody case. We are proud to serve our clients inside and outside the courtroom. Your concerns become our concerns and we aim to achieve the goals you find most important. Have trouble goal setting? Feel like your mind is awash with so much worry that you won’t know what is happening in the case? Our attorneys work alongside you to learn about this process and develop goals worthy of your family.

Our attorneys know how to function in a courtroom. That means making sure you are prepared for court. When you work with the attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan that means having an attorney who comes to court prepared to serve you. You don’t have to worry about how your case is going to be presented in court when you work with us. We aim to exceed the expectations of our clients and we work hard to do so every day. 

At the same time, our attorneys understand the important role that negotiation plays in a family law case. For that reason, we work with clients to prepare methods to negotiate effectively with their co-parents. When you sign on to work with our attorneys you make available to yourself the wealth of knowledge and experience our team of skilled family law attorneys possess. Thank you for choosing to join us here on the blog for the Law Office of Bryan Fagan.

Questions about the material contained 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. Interested in learning more about how your family is impacted by the material in this blog post? Contact us today.

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At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, the firm wants to get to know your case before they commit to work with you. They offer all potential clients a no-obligation, free consultation where you can discuss your case under the client-attorney privilege. This means that everything you say will be kept private and the firm will respectfully advise you at no charge. You can learn more about Texas divorce law and get a good idea of how you want to proceed with your case.

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