How a Child’s Age Can Significantly Impact Custody Arrangements in Texas

The age of your child has a substantial impact on their well-being and overall development. We approach this subject at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan with the utmost care. Benefiting our clients is what matters most to us when it comes to custody issues. No matter the age of your child we have your best interests at heart. Trusting an attorney means having confidence in their abilities. We strive each day to show our clients how we serve families in and out of the family courts of Texas.

Heading into a family law case involving child custody means taking stock of where your family is currently. Depending upon the age of your children you all may need certain types of custody arrangements. This is true both regarding visitation and possession but also conservatorship rights and duties. What works well for a three-year-old will not work as well as for a thirteen-year-old. Developing a strategy for what works best for your family is what a family law case is all about. 

Moving forward as a co-parent

Do not take for granted the differences and needs of older and younger children. Parents fall into the trap all the time of thinking their children are more resilient than they are. Without a doubt, your children influence your decisions, good and bad, in a child custody case. 

Deciding to move forward with a family law case takes courage. Going with a decision that you think is best for your child shows what parenting is all about. You cannot think of yourself first in this situation. Rather, your child is the first person that you think of when making decisions regarding the family law case. Child custody matters take up a great deal of time and energy. Devoting yourself to learning about this process is the best course of action for you to take. 

Challenges present themselves at every corner in a child custody case. Divorces and child custody cases both involve issues related to child visitation, possession, and conservatorship. Your role as a co-parent is to do what is best for your child and to manage your relationship with your co-parent. Like it or not, the best interests of your child are better served by co-parenting.

Learning how to talk to and respect the boundaries of your co-parent is where this begins. Expecting to be able to co-parent effectively without showing respect and courtesy is unrealistic. Being civil towards one another, communicating as well as possible, and maintaining boundaries establishes a firm foundation for co-parenting. 

How to approach a co-parenting relationship

Going through a family law case with your co-parent and then immediately needing to start co-parenting. That is your reality for the time being. It feels like a relief to make it through your family law case. The next thing you know you are raising a child with that person seemingly in the next instant. Whatever your motivations were to get through the family law case those motivations need to be maintained once the case ends. 

Do you talk to your co-parent? Start that habit now. Trying to reach out and establish a relationship helps. This feels awkward especially if you and that person just went through a divorce. However, being on top of this basic bit of information makes a tremendous difference in your lives as co-parents. Talking with your co-parent shows a commitment to your family unit and child. Even if you do not feel as if this is a family unit now you should engage in this practice. 

Addressing boundaries

Understanding boundaries is a key part of this equation, as well. Your co-parent may be unwilling to have much of a co-parenting relationship now. With so much at stake when it comes to co-parenting the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Allowing your co-parent to share that burden with you benefits your child in the long run. Feeling that pressure consistently on your shoulders is enough to cause anyone to break down. Working together as a team spreads the burden and helps your family succeed.

Guiding your child through a family law case

Child custody cases feel foreign to most parents. Imagine how your child feels. One way of life means one way to address problems. Now, he or she is seeing their life change significantly. Children lack the life experiences that adults possess. Expecting them to process and adapt as readily as adults is an error. Physically, mentally, and emotionally being present for your children during this time is what matters. Co-parenting is the most effective method to perform in this way for your child. 

Consider what happens when parents co-parent effectively. Children can understand their role in a changing family dynamic. It is not always easy for a child to see how he or she fits in within the family. To them, the entire family looks completely different after a family law case. When you and your co-parent put your heads together it comes out looking more favorable for your child. No need to work against one another. You and your co-parent can work together and aid your child significantly. 

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are here to help you and your child. We do not accept cases and then have them sit on our desks. We take seriously the responsibility of working for our clients. Serving our clients is why we work every day as hard as we do. Interested in learning more about our office? Contact us today for a free of charge consultation. We look forward to hearing from you and learning how to serve you best. 

Child custody basics

Did you know that “custody” isn’t even a word in the Texas Family Code? It’s true. Custody is a term that is used commonly by families, attorneys, and judges. It is commonly used to refer to any issues relevant to a child’s case in Texas family court. Rather than using individual terms like conservatorship, visitation, possession, and access, custody is just easier to use. You have undoubtedly heard this term used before when it comes to Texas family law. 

Now that you have started a family law case, custody issues are extremely important. Rather than worrying about all these subjects it is wiser to learn what each issue is. From there you can apply that information to the specific circumstances that you and your family face. Family facts are extremely fact-specific. What matters for one family may not matter for yours, and vice versa. 

Do not underestimate how much learning this process can do for your case. An attorney, if you hire one, does not make decisions for you. Rather, an attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan will help you to make decisions that are in your child’s best interests. A primary method of doing this is to help you learn as much as possible about Texas family law. 

Conservatorship means rights and duties relating to your child

Gearing up for a child custody case means placing a heavy focus on conservatorship issues. Conservatorship refers to the type of relationship shared by you and your child. A conservator looks out for the best interests of another person. A conservator makes decisions for this other person and has duties to care for him or her. There are conservatorships under the law for adults and children. 

Being a conservator for your child is nothing new. Beginning at the time your child was born you were his or her conservator. This is true by being his or her parent. A parent is a conservator, we normally do not think of this as being the case, however. Going through a child custody case means that you are establishing rights and duties concerning your child under a conservatorship.

The rights and duties that come up the most in discussions with parents always involve visitation and possession first. However, decision-making concerning medical and educational decisions matters too. Also, consider the basic elements of your child’s life for a moment. Spending time with your child is a huge part of that. However, so are topics ranging from their schooling, their health, and where he or she lives primarily. Deciding these subjects with your co-parent is what a family law case is all about. 

Deciding on child support and primary residence

The two topics in child custody cases that come up the most in negotiations are connected. Those topics are- child support and determining the primary residence of your child. The primary residence of your child is determined in large part by looking backward. True enough, the best interests of your child matter in the future as well. However, the role that you and your co-parent have played in the life of your child to this point will matter a great deal. 

Acting as the primary caretaker of your child to that point in your child’s life will impact whether you can win primary custody rights. These primary custody rights allow you to now determine the primary residence of your child. Establishing the primary residence of your child means that your child will be living with you during the school year. This translates into more time with your child than with your co-parent. Surely you see why this topic is debated back and forth in many child custody cases. 

Winning the right to determine the primary residence of your child is crucial in a child custody case. Not only does it mean that you can have possession of your child more, but you also receive child support. Child support reflects the reality that the state of Texas wants both parents to contribute financially to the well-being of their children. Child support is a direct method to do so. 

Possession- how is it divided between co-parents?

To many of you reading this blog post, this is the important subject in the whole case. To be sure, learning how to parent your child from two households is the prominent challenge in the entire case. You are acclimated to always raising your child in your home. Now you and your co-parent are going to need to learn how this is done in two separate households. Changing the living arrangements of your child was necessary but now you need to adjust to what those changes mean for your family. 

Possession means physically being with your child. It carries with it certain abilities to direct your child in an immediate sense. That control of your child coupled with the bonding and nurturing aspects is why possession tends to be an impactful topic in Texas family law. Figuring out how to balance the importance of this subject with other topics in your case is the challenging part of this process. 

Possession is usually broken down according to the terms of a standard possession order. This means the first, third, and fifth weekends of each month go to the parent with whom the child does not reside primarily. Families like yours must be able to honor the time of their child and their co-parent to maximize the relationship. Otherwise, you run into a situation where you and your co-parent are back in court frequently. 

The age of your child and its impact on your custody orders

Orders regarding custody depend in large part on the age of your child. Overall, the best interests of your child are the driving factor concerning the custody orders. Part of the best interest determination involves figuring out the needs of your child, both now and in the future. The needs of your child are determined in part by their age. Here is how your child’s age impacts child custody negotiations. 

Children under three are not presumed to be best served by a standard possession order. Frequent visitation switches and time away from their mother usually does not suit children well. Fathers certainly play an important role in the lives of young children. However, it cannot be ignored that for many children their primary food source comes directly from their mother. On top of that, mothers more actively take a role in raising young children in most families.

As a result, fathers typically have more limited time with young children until they reach age four. Three and under children spend more time with their mom. It is up to the creativity of the mom and dad and the needs of the child to figure out a visitation schedule for children three and under.  Working with an experienced family law attorney can make all the difference in the world when it comes to determining a functional custody schedule. Your family benefits from working with an attorney, such as those with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan.

Older children and custody orders

While younger children tend to spend more time with their mothers, this is not true of older children. Your older children have less of a need for slower-paced custody exchanges. The lives of older kids are more often determined by the school schedule than by their feeding schedule. Considering the schooling schedule of your child, their activities, and their specific needs works well in creating a custody schedule. No two children are exactly alike, and you need to figure out how to best serve your child with these custody orders.

Teenage children tend to do well with alternating custody between parents on a week-on and week-off basis. Exposing your child to both parents frequently allows for that child to develop over poor in a relationship quickly and easily. Developing that relationship is crucial during a time when your child is busy with all sorts of activities and oftentimes has their attention split between many different things.

Children who are not yet in high school function well in a standard possession order. Some variations are made on standard possession orders based on the specific needs of a family. Becoming introspective and considering what works best for your child is necessary to serve him or her to the best of your ability.

Final thoughts on the age of children and  custody orders

Working through issues related to child custody matters whether your child is younger or older. The love and affection you have for your child do not change depending upon their age. However, the needs of your child will change as they age older. Being aware of this and taking into consideration the specific needs of your child leads to better outcomes. Thank you for spending time on our blog today and we hope to see you tomorrow, as well.

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. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law. Our attorneys will share with you tell your family life is impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

Share this article