One of the things that I have noticed about Texas family law cases is that much of the time, there are trends in what parents will ask for and list as goals for custody in conservatorships situations. Most of you reading this blog post are not seasoned family law attorneys or people who have become experienced in the world of family law after multiple divorces or child custody cases. Ask as such; he would not be expected to know all of the details of these subjects heading into a case. With that said, here is one thing that I have noticed in terms of mothers and fathers asking for certain types of things in family law cases.
If I were to ask you as a mother what your goals were when it came to child custody in a Texas family law case, you might well tell me that you want full custody of your children. Now, the devil is in the details when it comes to you determining what full custody means. Your idea of what full custody means may differ from what another person thinks. Depending upon your circumstances and that of your Co-parent or spouse, you may be well justified in asking for sole custody of your children. Or, your instinct may be to ask for as much as you can in your family law case, knowing that so Cassidy isn't realistic based on your family circumstances.
On the other hand, I have noticed that fathers, more often than not, will be much more conservative and what they ask for when it comes to custody and visitation with their children. Relatively few fathers will ask for sole custody were discussing goals in a child custody case. Rather, fathers will more typically ask for something along the lines of split custody where they could have at least as much time with their children as their wife or Co-parent. This is an interesting occurrence that I have seen play out repeatedly in meeting with people who are considering filing a divorce or child custody case.
When you see something like this happen repeatedly, it begs why this is the case. For one, I think that mothers face a certain degree of pressure 2 be in the primary position to care for their children. As a result, mothers will more often than not be aggressive in asking for a migrated degree of time with their children than will fathers. Whether or not a mother or father understands what sole custody or soul conservatorships are, this is what parents will ask for somewhat frequently.
Is sole custody a goal that you should be aiming for in a child custody or divorce case? Well, that depends on the circumstances of your case. For one, you need to determine what is in the best interest of your child. Two, you need to look at the totality of your family's circumstances to determine if your family is well-positioned for you to be the sole managing conservator of your child. Finally, you need to figure out if a judge is likely to agree with you in believing that you need to be named the sole managing conservator of your child.
The best interests of your child should determine your conservatorship goals.
Ironically, your child's best interests can sometimes get lost in the shuffle of all the different considerations that you may be considering when it comes to your conservatorship situation. Conservatorship refers to the decision-making abilities of you and your co-parent regarding your kids. A conservator makes decisions on behalf of another person and is responsible for taking care of that person. That is what I am referring to when I say that you are a person's conservator. You are the conservator of your child until they turn 18 years of age.
Now that we have established what being a conservator is, we can discuss how to act as a Conservatory in your child's best interests. For many parents being a Conservatory for a child after divorce or child custody case means that you need to make sure they go to school in feed them three meals a day. However, in some situations, your child may require more attention in greater care due to a physical or mental impairment or an issue with another family member.
For instance, if your child has a mental disability, they may need you to consider asking for primary decision-making regarding their education. For example, I was part of a divorce case some years ago where the father worked in another state and was fairly rarely home in Texas. he was not easily reached by phone and knew that he was not in a position to be trusted when it came to making decisions for their child education. As a result, this father decided to allow his wife to have primary decision-making responsibilities for their child's education.
This must have been a tough decision to make for a father who otherwise was as involved as possible in his child's life. However, he realized that his child's needs required a parent to make decisions in sometimes quick manners to avoid problems and respond to changing environments. But since he was living and working out of the state much of the year, he would not be a reliable source for information or decision-making. In that case, the mother has sole responsibility when making decisions about education was critical.
Another area where it could be important for your child if you or your Co-parent could be the sole conservative with decision-making capabilities would be regarding their health care decisions. If your child has a physical handicap or mental impairment, you all need to care for that need, as the situation warrants. In some circumstances, you may even need to be able to make emergency decisions on behalf of your child.
For example, if your child needs frequent medical procedures to manage a chronic condition, it would not be ideal for apparent who is frequently out of touch when it comes to communication to make decisions or prevent decisions from being made are important. In this case, one parent having sole decision-making authority for your child may not be the worst situation to put your child in.
Additionally, you may have a situation where one parent or the other is uniquely suited to make decisions on behalf of that child. Or, one parent may have had problems with decision-making in the past that has harmed the child somehow. In that case, we need to talk about family circumstances and how they can impact one parent becoming the sole managing conservator of a child.
What your family circumstances can tell you about sole custody
The most obvious reason I could see one parent becoming the sole managing conservator of a child is if that parent is the only parent who takes an interest in the day-to-day doings of your child. For example, if you have ascents, Lee, been raising your child as a single parent for many years, then there may not be much pushback in the way of you becoming sole managing conservator of them. If that is the circumstance you find yourself in, you should talk to your attorney early and often about becoming a sole managing conservator.
Another family circumstance that may allow for sole custody of your child will be if your Co-parent or spouse has placed your child in harm's way previously, Anna's not shown the ability to put your child's best interests ahead of their own. For instance, I had a case some years ago where a father drove under the influence of alcohol with his 18-month-old daughter in the vehicle with him. He had forgotten that she was in the vehicle Anne had driven across town with her asleep in the back seat while intoxicated.
Eventually, his erratic driving had caused him to be pulled over by law enforcement. Much to the surprise and dismay of law enforcement, the young lady was found in the back seat. Police called our client immediately to come and pick her up while her husband was taken to jail. In that case, our client asked for and received orders in their divorce where she was named as sole managing conservator of their child. She was able to have independent decision-making authority on health and educational matters in the future.
Even if you are given limited decision-making authority or limited time with your child in a divorce child custody case, you can always work to regain time with them through stairstep provisions. Stairstep provisions allow you to gradually increase the amount of time that you can spend with your children and the ability to make decisions on behalf of your child. Different benchmarks can be set for regaining time or decision-making abilities with your child.
For example, by attending drug rehabilitation or Alcoholics Anonymous, you can show your Co-parent you are taking responsibility for your fire actions with an addiction previous sentence. Going a certain amount of time without a relapse or missing classes may allow you to regain time and decision-making capabilities with your child. Of course, a great deal depends on the specific circumstances of your case.
Just because you have made a mistake or are not now in a position to negotiate as aggressively as you would like about any other subject matter does not mean that you will never be able to do so. Rather than simply sitting out negotiations on a certain subject. Ultimately, your child will benefit from having a relationship both with you and with your other parent. If this is what the state of Texas believes, then you should not stop trying to take advantage of all the time you can with your child. Do not become disheartened with your current circumstances to the point where you do not try to take advantage of as much time as you can with your child. By positioning yourself now regarding this subject, you can be a meaningful force for good in the life of your child, no matter what your prior circumstances were.
What is a family court judge likely to rule regarding your circumstances in a request for sole custody?
In reality, it does not matter what we say here on this blog post regarding the subject of sole custody. What truly matters is what a family court judge would likely rule regarding this subject. For the most part, parents are named joint managing conservators in the vast majority of Texas family law cases. Joint managing conservators have shared parenting duties and time as the hallmarks of this arrangement. This is instead solely managing conservatorship scenarios where only one parent is in a position to do so.
Family court judges typically do not make decisions in a trial unless they are confident that the evidence presented to them justifies the decision. This means that you should not expect a family court judge to decide your case unless it is justified by the evidence presented. Therefore, you and your attorney would need to be very sure. Still, a judge will be likely to rule in your favor if you were to move forward with the decision not to settle a case in mediation because you want to be named as the sole managing conservator.
This means that you should negotiate for sole custody based on the likely outcome of your case in a trial. For instance, you can consider what we have already discussed in today's blog post as far as factors are concerned before deciding how hard to push for sole custody. What most people think of when they ponder having sole custody of their kids is not exactly feasible.
We have already discussed how judges tend to default into naming parents are joint managing conservators. You have to knock their socks off to be named as the sole managing conservator. The circumstances of your case need to lean in your favor for you to be named as the sole managing conservator of your child. That's not to say that it is impossible to envision a scenario where this could occur, but it is certainly unlikely.
By the same token, you should consider whether or not it is in your child's best interests for you to become their sole managing conservator. Like I mentioned earlier in today's blog post, it is easy to become short-sighted and lose track of this as the number one consideration in a divorce or child custody case. So much of the time in your case could be spent with you going back and forth with your co-parent about the inconsequential subject matter or an opportunity for you all to flex your egos. Meanwhile, your children do not benefit at all when you engage in this type of behavior.
Becoming the sole managing conservator of your kids means that you will be responsible for a great deal of their life. For many of you reading today's blog post, this may not change much. If you are already acting as a single parent, there may not be much in added responsibility. However, you need to understand that your child can and will be impacted by having more time with you and less time with their other parent. The pressure is on you to make sure that it is to your child’s benefit.
Finally, it would help if you considered whether or not you want the responsibility and burden of raising your child as a sole managing conservator. It is easy to think about parenting on your own, but it is another matter altogether to do it. While you will not be entirely on your own as a sole managing conservator, I’m sure there will be times where it feels like you are. It is nice to lean on another person to a degree when deciding important things for your children. Having the burden of making those decisions on your own is enormous. You may end up living as joint managing conservators with your co-parent, after all, if only to spread that burden around more evenly.
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 opportunity for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and learn more about how your family may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.