Being engaged in a child custody case, either within the context of a divorce or suit affecting the parent-child relationship, means that you will be concerned with several different factors associated with the relationship to your children. Invariably what comes up in a child custody case is that you are attempting to prove your suitability as a parent for your child. In many ways, this can be a frustrating experience because you know what kind of parent you are in your heart. However, oftentimes you are left having to defend your actions regarding your children and your parenting style and methods. This can be very disheartening, and many clients express frustration at having to do so.
However, this is the nature of a child custody case. You cannot decide all of the terms of your case or on what fields you and your opposing parent will go to battle. What you do get to decide is your attitude towards your case and your circumstances, and how well you prepare for your child custody case. That is what I would like to discuss with you today. How best can you and your family prepare for a child custody case so that the outcome is favorable to you and is in the best interest of your children. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan have a great deal of experience counseling and guiding parents through these sorts of circumstances, and I would like to share with you some of those experiences today.
Determining your “why” for a child custody case
Before discussing anything else associated with a child custody case, you must think about why you are even here. Many parents will enter into a case, either one they filed or that their opposing parent filed, and think mainly about what could be lost in the case, what a nuisance the cases, and why they don't deserve to be involved in the case at all. I'm not here to tell you that any of these feelings are not well placed or deserved. As a parent myself, I can understand how you would feel if I had to be involved in a child custody matter. However, once the case has started, it is in your best interest to participate and do so intentionally.
What does being intentional mean in regards to a child custody case? Well, I liken it to any other area of your life where you should make decisions about specific things based on specific pieces of information. As in, don't simply go into a child custody case and assume your attorney will help you make decisions that are in your best interests. You need to understand the issues in your case, consider what is best for your child, and then listen to the counsel of your attorney. At that point, you will be able to make good decisions for yourself and your children.
To me, this all starts with understanding why you are involved in your child custody case. The difficulty in writing a blog post like this is that we come into a child custody case from different perspectives and situations. While some of you may be trying to defend yourself against an ex-spouse who is attempting to win primary custody of her children, Others of you may have supervised visitation of your kids and want to have a standardized possession order where you can be with your kids more often and hold more rights and responsibilities about your kids. Like I said before, everyone reading this blog post will come into their child custody case from a particular and very unique position. You need to identify where you are, where your children are, and why you will proceed with this 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 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.
Some of your reasons why you will continue in the earth child custody case is because you have no other choice. If a case was filed against you and you now have to act as the respondent in a child custody case, you don't have much of an option for participating. You can still look for your specific reasons and then act intentionally to achieve those goals, but you are still more or less in a defensive posture, at least at the beginning of your child custody case.
On the other hand, if you are planning on filing a child custody case, you can have more time to decide why it is being filed in the first place. Are you attempting to modify a prior child custody order into something more favorable for your children and yourself? Are you simply angry at an ex-spouse in our filing your case to get back at him or her? Have your children expressed a desire to live with you full time rather than with their other parent? Consider your specific reason you have decided to file your child custody case, and then you can determine goals for yourself and your children.
Determine your goals for a child custody case
once you have figured out why it is you need to file a child custody case, you need to figure out what your goals will be for the case. In this regard, my advice is to be crystal clear with yourself and with your attorney about what your goals are. You do not do anyone a favor by coming into a child custody case with vague and unsettled goals. The fact is that a child custody case can be a somewhat long process and an expensive one at that. No, I did not mean to tell you that your case will last two years and cost you a year’s worth of salary to complete. However, family law attorneys bill by the hour, and the longer your case goes, the more it will cost most likely. Therefore, it would behoove you to settle on some specific goals for yourself early on rather than trying to figure them out once the cases are even filed.
For example, if you are in a divorce situation and are trying to figure out your child custody goals within that divorce case, you should look to your family's nature to determine those goals. If you have been the parent who has worked 60 hours a week for many years to provide financially for your children And are therefore not at home very much, then an immediate goal for you should be to established or reestablish a relationship with your kids both long term and short term. This will allow you to overcome any obstacles from an emotional perspective that you may encounter in your case.
Next, I would tell you to take a look at what sort of possession schedule you think is reasonable in your circumstances. Again, if you are a parent who works a great deal outside the house and traveling, you are likely not in a position to ask for primary custody of your children. That doesn't mean that you aren't a good parent. That doesn't mean you are not a caring parent. That doesn't even mean that you wouldn't go to great lengths to change your work schedule to accommodate your children. It does mean that you have a track record of not being able to stay for long stretches of time in the house with your kids. As our lives hopefully begin did revert to normalcy after the epidemic, we should be aware that if you ask to be a primary conservator of your children, you are asking to be the primary caretaker of your children. This means not only providing for them financially but providing for them physically in the home, at school functions, and anywhere else your children will be. A job where you travel quite a bit or requires you to be in the office is not necessarily conducive to primary conservatorship.
Therefore, your goals probably should shift towards Wanting to negotiate a flexible but fair parenting schedule with your children and your opposing parent. This means, for instance, if you need to be able to travel or come into work at a moment's notice, you should do your best to work out a schedule with your co-parent rather than to leave it up to a judge. The reason I say this is that judges will typically hand down parenting plans and possession orders that are not that flexible and are fairly rigid. On the other hand, you and your spouse can negotiate more fully and understand your specific circumstances when compared to a judge.
As a result, council clients all the time that if you need a flexible parenting plan or possession schedule in your case, your best bet is to put aside any emotions or differences with your spouse and attempt to negotiate with him or her in good faith. Yes, there is always the backup plan of going to see the judge. Still, you will rarely receive a better outcome with a judge than you will your spouse except in extraordinary circumstances where you all can absolutely not negotiate or work together on coming up with your own plan.
Select the right attorney for you in your case
I wanted to devote the last section of today's blog post towards encouraging you to take the time necessary to select the right attorney for you and your case. Just about any family law attorney will be able to guide you through the filing of a family law case and can provide you with the same basic advice when it comes to issues related to divorce, child custody, modifications, or enforcement cases. The difference in Family law attorneys will be how that attorney works with you and your family and the report that you can build with the lawyer in terms of the trust.
For that reason, I recommend interviewing a handful of attorneys before selecting one who is right for you and your family. More and more attorneys allow for flexible consultations that can be had in person at their office, over the phone, and via video. I can tell you that our office is extremely accommodating to you based on your comfort level at this time. We understand that meeting face to face with a lawyer may not be something you want to do right now. However, that does not mean that you have the excuse not to scrutinize any potential lawyer you consider hiring closely.
You should look for an attorney who listens well, has a track record of achieving results in cases like yours, and is not afraid to go to trial. Sometimes, if you are a more bashful or introverted person, that may mean that you should look for an attorney who will be slightly more aggressive and more extroverted in the sense of advocating for your rights. In this way, you and your attorney can balance one another out. This is far from scientific observation, but it's just my personal experience and observations from years of being involved in family law cases. As unique a person as you are, there are unique attorneys out there who can best represent you in your family.
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 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. We thank you for showing an interest in our law practice, and we hope to be able to serve you and your family in the future, and whatever family law matter is relevant to you.