Understanding Types of Child Custody in Texas

Entering into a custody agreement with your co-parent takes time. This is not something that you should rush into. Taking the time necessary to plan out how sharing custody takes place is the best plan. Did you consider that your family has specific needs that require individual attention? Applying yourself to this objective now is in the best interests of your child. Where to start? Begin here with the attorneys from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, specializing in different types of child custody in Texas. 

In today’s blog post, we will share with you the different types of child custody in Texas. Whether you are going through a divorce or child custody case this is a major area of focus. Determining how much time you can spend with your child matters. Do not overlook the rights and duties that you have concerning your child, as well. We are going to discuss the different custody arrangements available for you and your child today. 

If you have any questions about this material, please contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today. Our attorneys are available six days a week for free of charge consultations with you. Did you know that we provide you with important information about your case during a consultation? Gaining a different perspective on your situation makes a work of difference. Reach out to us today to learn more about how the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is available to help you. 

What is custody?

Custody is a combination of two different concepts in Texas family law. The first concept has to do with rights and duties concerning your children. This is known as conservatorship. Being the conservator of a person means that you are responsible for that person’s care. Making decisions on behalf of that person is essential to their care. Having certain duties to provide for that person’s best interests is another key aspect. Do not overlook conservatorship in a child custody case. 

The other major part of child custody that most of us think of immediately is being able to possess your children. This means both physically being with your children as well as having access to your children. Access can be granted to your children through the use of technology like phone calls, text messaging, and video chats. Most parents focus on this aspect of parenting when going through a child custody case. 

However, physical possession, access, rights, and duties concerning your children are all important. You cannot be shortsighted or have blinders on in a child custody case. Rather, focusing on all of these issues simultaneously is the challenging part of a custody case. Working with an experienced family law attorney allows you to do this easier. 

What is your focus in a child custody case?

Before we go any further today I want to stop and help you assess where you are in this process. So often we get ahead of ourselves when it comes to your case. Do you feel like your attention is scattered in a million different places? Having to focus on so many issues in a family law setting in addition to the other responsibilities that you have is daunting. Rather than just pushing forward without regard to these issues let’s stop and determine where you are with your goal setting. 

Having goals is essential to a family law case. Wandering into a family law case is possible. Wandering out of a family law case is impossible if you want to achieve anything of substance. For that reason, you need to stop now and figure out where to go from here. There are a lot of competing interests for you to contend with in a child custody case. Keeping your eye on the prize and focusing on what matters most is essential. 

With that said, you cannot know what is essential to you without first understanding how to set goals for yourself. Simply waltzing through the case without a focus is a huge mistake. Think about the teams that just made it to the Super Bowl. After their playoff games, when asked how they got here, it wasn’t as if they stood there with a blank expression. These men talked about hard work, determination, and a single-minded focus. Approaching your family law case with a similar attitude is smart.

Does child custody matter in a divorce?

Even though we have been talking about child custody in today’s blog post it is important to realize that divorce has custody components as well. A divorce is a two-part case when minor children are involved. The first part of the case involves child custody matters. The second involves marital property division. We will not be discussing marital property division today. Anything we talk about with child custody applies just the same to a divorce, however. 

Being a parent who is going through a divorce means that you have even more on your plate. You have property division to concern yourself with in addition to child custody issues. This is exactly what we mean when we talk about how important it is to have goals. Not having goals in a divorce means being distracted and losing focus. This causes you to ultimately not focus enough on any one area. 

A divorce is challenging for families, without a doubt. An experienced Texas divorce attorney knows how to serve parents in a divorce setting. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan know what you are going through in a divorce case and want to walk with you. A free-of-charge consultation means sitting with an attorney who cares about clients and their outcomes. Schedule a consultation with us today to find out more about what services our office provides. 

Moving toward a child custody case with confidence

Listening to other people talk about child custody cases is difficult. It is easy to worry about what will happen in your case when you hear constant complaints from other people about their case. While having a support system in a child custody case is important you need to have your own goals and own perspective in the case. Relying upon the testimony of others in a child custody case can be counterproductive. 

Here is a course for you to take in a child custody case. Take time to think about what is in the best interests of your children. Do not assume that what worked well for your friend or family member in their child custody case applies equally to your own. Rather, moving forward to work through your issues at your pace matters most. 

Take what you hear from others in a child custody case with a grain of salt. It is not always possible to implement the same strategies and plan that a friend did in their case. Having your course of action nearly always works better. Lean on friends and family for emotional support and guidance. Do not take what they say and assume that it applies equally to your case. 

What matters most in a child custody case?

The topics that matter most in a child custody case relate to your family. This may sound silly or obvious. However, many families lose track of their issues and focus on what is not important. Instead, look at your case from the perspective of your children. In your mind, when your child is thriving to their utmost, what is your child involved in? What attributes of their life stick out to you the most? 

This is where you begin to develop goals and a vision for your case. What matters most to you and your family in a child custody setting will not be the same as any other family. There is nothing wrong with understanding that your case has different objectives than a friend or neighbor’s. Understanding this perspective means having an advantage in your case. 

Your children have individual needs, but the goal of a court is to keep the kids together. Facing the needs of your children and the desire for cohesiveness is a good focus in your case. The better your focus is on your children the better the outcomes are. This sounds silly but with all the distractions in a child custody case, it is easy to lose this focus. 

Sole custody versus joint custody

Sole custody is known as a sole managing conservatorship in the world of Texas family law. This type of conservatorship is uncommon. Under a sole managing conservatorship, the sole managing conservator has the lion’s share of possession time and conservatorship rights/duties. The possessory conservator (other parent) pays child support, sees the child infrequently, and has approximately one weekend of possession time per month. Sole managing conservatorships are ordered in cases where a parent has not had a meaningful relationship with the child before the family law case.

A joint managing conservatorship (joint custody) is much more common. Joint conservators share in the decision-making authority relating to a child. Child support is still paid between parents. However, the time differential between parents is much more even. The primary conservator of a child determines where the child lives. The nonprimary conservator has visitation usually on the first, third, and fifth weekends of each month. This all adds up to what many people call “split custody.”

So what arrangement is right for you and your family? Look at your past to determine your future. Do either you or your co-parent have little experience raising the kids? Then a sole managing conservatorship sounds like a good plan. Do you and your co-parent have a history of splitting those co-parenting responsibilities? Then joint custody is right up your alley. Look at the history of how parenting has worked with your family to determine what works for your family.

Standard Possession Orders examined

We cannot have a discussion on child custody types without getting into the Standard Possession Order. A Standard Possession Order is a tried-and-true method of dividing time for children between two parents. It is so tried and true that you can find the SPO in our Texas Family Code. When in doubt, a judge would assign a Standard Possession Order to parents in most cases. 

The hallmarks of a Standard Possession Order are as follows. First, the parent who has visitation rights would have possession of the kids on the first, third, and fifth weekends of each month. Holidays are divided equally and/or alternated from year to year. Where the primary conservator comes out on top as far as possession time is during the school year. A primary conservator has possession during the school week. The exception is that the parent with visitation rights has a dinner time slot with the kids from 6-8 pm on Thursday each week.

Standard Possession Orders are expandable. Normally, possession for the weekend starts at 6:00 pm on Friday and ends at 6:00 pm on Sunday. However, under an expandable SPO, the weekend begins and ends at school. When school lets out on Friday and when school is Monday morning to be more precise. 

Ultimately, custody is in your hands

The major takeaway from today’s blog post ought to be that you have the power to determine the course your custody case takes. A judge does not factor into the decision-making process unless you and your co-parent can agree on a plan to manage this subject together. This means that having a good, working relationship with your co-parent matters a whole lot in a child custody case.

It may be too late for you to salvage your relationship with your co-parent right now. Many parents in your position have gone back and forth over the years in a custody setting. This leaves marks and scars. You may be unwilling to go back and discuss matters with your co-parent. When you find yourself in this position it is easy to become pessimistic about your chances of resolving a custody case amicably.

However, even if your current child custody case cannot be resolved this time around in negotiation that does not mean future cases cannot be. There is always an opportunity to lay the groundwork for future cases and interactions. Even if you and your co-parent have not had a good working relationship to this point you can build a strong relationship now. Communication is the key to this mindset as the two of you learn how to develop your relationship as co-parents. 

Communicate through custody difficulties

It is difficult to be caught in the middle of a custody dispute. Just when you think that you have worked your way through the case presently you find yourself with additional concerns in mind. Life changes and sometimes changes quickly. Do not assume that the court orders arrived at in your family law case will invariably work for your family throughout the rest of your lives. Almost certainly there will need to be changes made. 

How to go about making those changes. The first method is through a formal child custody modification. This means filing a modification petition with the court, serving notice upon your co-parent, and then negotiating a change to the court orders. This is a tried-and-true method of custody modification. A judge would sign any new order that was created. This is the new order that you and your co-parent would operate under. 

However, that is not the only way to modify a court order. There are informal modifications that the two of you can work on together. These modifications happen from time to time in a situation where you and your co-parent have a good relationship. Being able to talk through your difficulties and arrive at mutually agreeable outcomes. That is what an informal modification is all about. 

Final thoughts on child custody types in Texas

Whatever situation you find yourself in when it comes to child custody it will not benefit your child unless you and your co-parent can work together effectively. This means setting aside your differences and working towards solutions that are geared towards serving your child. How you accomplish these goals is largely determined by your strengths and weaknesses as a parent. Figuring those out helps to figure out the right path for you to take in a family law case. 

Working with an experienced family law attorney is the leg up you need to succeed in a child custody case. No matter what your goals are for the case you can find success in working with an attorney. Do not waste time making mistakes in your filing documents. An attorney streamlines that process. Worried about your goal setting or lack thereof? An attorney from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is uniquely suited to help you set and achieve goals in a Texas child custody case.

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 the types of child custody and how your family is impacted by the material in this blog post? Contact us today.

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