If you and your spouse have children, then they will be a priority during a divorce. One of the critical aspects of a divorce is finding a parenting arrangement that promotes the best interest for the children into the future. The McClure Law Group fights to protect children's well-being while remaining sensitive to the potential impact of any parenting arrangement. Our Dallas child custody lawyers work closely with parents as well as experts in parenting, psychology, wellness, finance, and tax to design an arrangement so that the spouses can successfully co-parent as appropriate. As experienced family law attorneys, we strongly support alternative dispute resolution techniques to minimize the emotional impact on your children and the financial impact of any litigation.Representation in Child Custody Matters in Texas
Child custody is called conservatorship in Texas. Conservatorship includes various rights, including but not limited to the right to make important decisions for a child, receive information about the child's welfare, have access to the child's medical and educational records, and consent to medical treatment.
Parents may try to design their own plan for conservatorship, but if they cannot resolve their differences, a judge or jury may decide the matter. Even if the parents agree on conservatorship, the court must approve their written agreement. The court will be guided by what is in the child's best interests. The child's best interests are determined by looking at a broad range of factors, including the child's physical and emotional needs, potential physical or emotional dangers, stability, cooperation between the parents, who has been a child's primary caregiver, geographic proximity, keeping siblings together, and each parent's fitness to parent. The court will consider reports of abuse or family violence in its determination about a child's best interests.
The presumption is that the parents should be joint managing conservators, although in some cases parents are not able to get along well enough to make serious decisions jointly, and in those cases, certain rights may be awarded only to one parent. In some cases, sole managing conservatorship is awarded. In that case, only one parent has the right to decide the child's primary residence, consent to medical treatments, and make other important decisions regarding the child.
Visitation is called possession and access in Texas. Texas has the standard possession order, which often dictates the time that each parent spends with a child. Parents usually share possession and access, unless it is not in the child's best interest or may endanger the child. The primary custodial parent typically receives child support for the child.
However, the developmental needs of a child may affect possession and access. For example, a toddler has significantly different needs from an older teenager. Possession and access with a toddler usually needs to be regular and consistent to ensure that a toddler bonds with both parents. An older teenager, on the other hand, may be mature enough to have a preference related to possession and access. In Texas, the court may take into account a child's preferences if 12 years of age or older, and an in-chambers conference with the child is requested.Seek Guidance from a Child Custody Lawyer in the Dallas Area
At McClure Law Group, we understand how important your children are to you. If you have decided to divorce, and you are concerned about with whom your children will live and their possession and access schedule, you should consult with one of our Dallas child custody attorneys. We also have a Collin County office in Plano (by appointment) and represent people in Fort Worth, Garland, Irving, Richardson, McKinney, Frisco, and Rockwall, as well as other cities in Dallas, Collin, Grayson, Denton, Tarrant, and Rockwall Counties. Call us at 214.692.8200 or contact us via our online form for a free consultation. We can also represent people who need a child support order or guidance in other family law matters.