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What Are My Custodial Rights During COVID-19?

When I hear the term “custodial rights” my mind goes towards what appearance responsibilities are toward their child either during or after a Texas family law case. In the law, custodial rights have to do with the ability of one person to make decisions and care for another person who is deemed by the courts as being unable to do so on their own. An incapacitated or impaired person may be unable to care for him or herself as an adult in situations like that a family member may become their custodian. 

In your circumstances, you will be deemed as the custodian of your child given their age. Until your child turns 18 you have certain rights and responsibilities in relation to that child. The responsibilities include doing things like providing shelter, food, clothing, and education in basic medical care. These are significant responsibilities and as the custodian of your child you take on the mantle of provider for your child until he or she reaches adulthood. 

On the other hand, you also have rights in relation to your child. These rights are critical and are treated as being part and parcel with conservatorships and being a custodian over your child. I think the most direct and basic way that we can attack this question in our blog post would be too approach it as a person would who had no experience with issues in Texas family law. If we can learn the basics of custodial rights, then we would be able to move on and learn more about how those custodial rights may be impactful in your particular divorce or child custody case. 

What are the basic rights of a parent toward their child in Texas? 

I think the most significant right that parents have towards their children in Texas, or at least the right that parents are the most aware of and care the most about, is the right to spend time with their child. Time and time again, when I meet with persons who are going through either a child custody or a divorce case their primary concern is being able to spend as much time as possible with their child both during the case and afterwards. It would seem that parents feel most viscerally the need to see and be with their child now that their ability to do so has been brought into question due to a family law case. 

As such the right of a parent to spend time with their child is at the top of the list as far as importance at the beginning of the case. Most parents are willing to neglect, to a certain extent, other areas of the case if they are able to take advantage of as much time as possible with their child. An interesting component of this discussion Is what mothers and fathers view as full custodial rights and full custody rights. 

For instance, when a person comes into our office for a free of charge consultation, he or she will oftentimes tell me that they want “full custody “of their child. From experience, I have figured out that full custody of a child in most people's minds who are going through a Texas family law case means that he or she wants to be able to have primary conservatorships over their child. This means that you possess the dual right to determine the primary residence of your child and the right to receive child support payments from the possessory conservator. These are the main Advantages that a primary conservator has over a possessory conservator

Many times, in a divorce or child custody case the father of a child will assume that he does not have the opportunity to be a primary conservator and have the custodial right to determine the primary residence of the child. I think it is just through speaking to other people and maybe the experience of men in the legal system that the law appears to favor women Regarding rights fundamental to the parent child relationship. As a father, this can be frustrating to see because I know that the law does not explicitly or even implicitly favor mothers over father's when it comes to these rights. 

When determining custodial rights in a family law case, the Texas Family Code state specifically that a judge cannot give preference to either parent in custodial rights questions simply due to their sex or gender. Custodial rights are divided up according to a best interest of the child analysis should your case make it all the way to the courtroom. The vast majority of family law cases do not make it all the way to court and rather, are settled between you and your opposing party and mediation. However, the facts and circumstances of your case will impact whether or not you win the custodial rights that you desire in relation to time with your child. 

The right to receive or pay child support

Another important custodial right that one parent will have in your family law case will be the right to receive child support payments. It would make sense then, that the other parent would have the right to make child support payments to the other parent who receives them. The reason for this is that parents have the right and duty to support their child financially and otherwise in taxes. Not only has the right to spend time with her child but has the right to provide for that child in the basic necessities of life. For families who are separated and who co-parent child support attempts to bridge the gap between the parent who spends most of their time with the child and the parent who has Visitation rights. 

On a practical and financial level, it is likely better for you to be the parent who receive child support on behalf of your child rather than be the parent who pays child support. Making the statement that it is better to receive money than to pay money is not going to be mind-blowing legal analysis in anyone's mind. However, there is a direct connection between the ability to receive child support rather than pay and your status as a conservator and holder of rights in relation to your child. Simply put, you need to be the parent who determines a primary residence of your child in order to also be the parent who receives child support. 

Child support payments are typically funneled from the possessory conservator of a child through the office of the attorney general child support division and eventually to the primary conservator. The office of the attorney general is the administrative body in Texas who collects and disperses child support payments on behalf of the state of Texas. Note that the office of the attorney general does not represent you or your co-parent in any matter in any state court. Their interest lies solely in administering payments and representing the State of Texas in any family court appearances.

this is a tricky custodial right to Discuss do too reasonable concerns that many parents have with the right to pay child support. For instance, let's assume that you are the parent who has the right to pay child support to your co-parent. In paying child support, you are providing for, or at least helping to provide or the basic necessities of your child's life. I don't think there's a parent among us who would balk at being able to do these things. However, I also don't think that there is a reasonable parent among us who would not have hesitation Paying child support to a person You we had just gone through a difficult family law case with. This is the somewhat conflicted nature of child support payments. 

The right to make educational and medical decisions on behalf of your child 

A parent in Texas also has rights in regard to making decisions on behalf of their child in regard to medical and educational choices. In the era of COVID-19, I believe that these are two important topics that need to be explored further. Let's begin by talking about how parents in Texas after a family law case are most typically classified as joint managing conservators of their children. This means that you and your co-parent would share rights and duties in relation to raising your children After your case is completed. 

Importantly, joint conservators share these rights in many cases share them right down the middle. For example, while some more minor decisions and rights can be held independently from one another, more important decisions regarding the well-being of your child are held in tandem or in conjunction with your co-parent. The decision for your child to have Anne elective procedure in the medical sense or the decision to enroll your child in gifted and talented classes are the types of rights custodians have that are shared in many cases. This means that it is imperative for parents to be able to work together incoherent in order to effectively hold these rights. 

I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post section that I think these custodial rights are especially important during the era of COVID-19. As we approached the beginning of the school year, we have seen most public-school districts in our area attempt to grapple with the difficulties presented by the virus. It seems that a balance of sorts is trying to be struck between in-person learning and distance or remote learning. Parents are being given the opportunity to weigh in with what type of schooling their child will engage in for the coming school year. 

As such, if your child has parents who live in separate households it will be imperative that you and your Copyright work together to do what is best for your child. The right to make educational decisions may be more important for this upcoming school year and for any other school year in the future. The reason being is that your child is going to be given options for school this year that are hopefully going to be unlike any school year in the future. As such, coordinating your custodial rights with those of your co-parent takes an extra importance this fall. 

Additionally, the custodial rights that you hold in relation to your child's medical well-being may be put to the test during this era as well. It goes without saying that if your child were to get sick from COVID-19 or any other illness that you and your co-parent would need to examine your custodial rights in relation to medical decisions and then co-parent through any challenges presented by illnesses. 

Typically speaking, emergency medical rights to make decisions for your child are held independent of you are co-parent. This means that in the event that your child is in a medical emergency you would be able to make emergency decisions on his or her behalf without having to wait to consult with your co-parent. This makes sense if your child is in a position where time is of the essence and a decision one way or the other needs to be made immediately. however, more routine or elective procedures are treatment options for an illness suffered by your child would likely be held in tandem with your co-parent. You should examine your family court orders to determine what your specific custodial rights are in relation to medical treatment and be aware of how they may be impacted in the coming months as circumstances will almost surely change. 

Questions about the content of 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 in via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about Texas family law and how our office is best suited to represent you and your family should you feel the need to proceed with a family law case. 

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