There is a strong presumption in Texas family law that it is in the child’s best interest for a parent to be awarded custody over a non-parent. In a recent case, a father appealed a judgment naming him joint managing conservator with the child’s maternal grandmother. A central issue in the case was the father’s argument that he should have been appointed the child’s sole managing conservator based upon the parental presumption.
In Texas custody cases, a court may only issue an order denying possession of a child or imposing restrictions or limitations on a parent’s right to possession to the extent necessary to protect the child’s best interest. Tex. Fam. Code § 153.193. Thus, a court may only order that a parent’s visitation with a child be supervised if doing so is in the child’s best interest.
A father recently challenged a court’s denial of his request for supervised visitation and drug testing of the mother.
Sometimes parents disagree about whose surname a child should have. Texas family law allows a court to order a name change for a child if the change is in the child’s best interest. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 45.004. Additionally, when a court adjudicates parentage, it may order a name change if a parent requests it and “for good cause shown.” Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 160.636. Some appeals courts have held that those are two distinct tests, while others have held that the child’s best interest is necessarily good cause and simply determine if the change would be in the child’s best interest even when the name change is requested pursuant to § 160.636.
A mother recently appealed a court order changing her son’s surname to that of his father.
Generally, there must be a material and substantial change in circumstances to justify a modification of a Texas custody order. An appeals court recently considered whether a father judicially admitted the existence of a material and substantial change when he objected to the modification sought by the mother, but petitioned, in the alternative, for different modifications.
Texas family law includes a presumption that parents should be appointed joint managing conservators. The law does not require, however, that the parents be given equal possession just because they are joint managing conservators. Tex. Fam. Code § 153.135. There is a rebuttable presumption that the standard possession order is in the child’s best interest, but that presumption only applies to children who are at least three years old. For younger children, the court must consider “all relevant factors.” The statute specifically requires the court consider who provided care before and during the proceedings, how separation from either party may affect the child, the availability and willingness of the parties to care for the child, and the child’s needs, along with other specified factors. Tex. Fam. Code § 153.254.
A father recently challenged the possession schedule and decision-making authority granted to the mother, arguing in part that the court should have awarded equal time or the standard possession schedule.
Sometimes one or both parents move after a custody order is issued. When parents move, they often want to modify custody and visitation. However, if both parents have moved out of state, issues of jurisdiction may arise. In a recent case, a father sought a Texas custody modification of a North Carolina custody order.
Courts often keep siblings together; however, in some Texas child custody cases, it is in the children’s best interest for them to be split up. When one or more children live with one parent and one or more children live with the other parent, each parent may be obligated to pay child support to the other. A father recently challenged how the court calculated the child support the mother would have to pay him after he received custody of one of their four children. In issuing its ruling, the appellate court’s opinion turned on the definition of “multiple households” under the Texas Family Code.
Texas family law has a strong presumption that it is in the child’s best interest to give custody to a parent. Generally, the court must appoint sole managing conservatorship to the parent instead of a non-parent unless it finds doing so would not be in the child’s best interest due to significant impairment of the child’s emotional development or physical health. Tex. Fam. Code § 153.131(a). What if the parent lives in another country? A Texas appeals court recently considered this issue.
Many couples attempt to reconcile after breaking up or divorcing. Moving back in together can effect a parent’s obligation to provide child support. If the parent who is obligated to pay child support is contributing to the support of the household, he or she may be entitled to a credit for their child-support obligation. In a recent case, a mother challenged a court’s order giving the father a credit against back child support for the period of time when they had lived together with the children.