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Custody of Children Under Three

Dallas Family-Law Attorneys Representing Parties in Custody Cases

In the context of custody cases, the Texas courts try to foster children’s relationships with their parents, and, absent extenuating circumstances, will allow both parents access to their children. Typically, the courts will issue a standard possession order to further the goal of encouraging frequent contact between parents and their children. However, the standard possession order does not apply to the custody of children under three. Instead, the courts will render orders they deem appropriate after considering numerous factors. If you need to define custody rights for a child under the age of three, it is advisable to contact an attorney as soon as possible. The Dallas child-custody attorneys of McClure Law Group are skilled at handling complex custody matters, and, if we represent you, we will fight to help you protect your parental rights.

Custody of Children Under Three in Texas

The Texas Family Code (the “Code”) sets forth guidelines for the courts to employ when determining conservatorship and possession. The Code provides that the overarching goal in any custody matter is to award parental rights in a manner that is in the best interest of the child involved. In most instances, there is a rebuttable assumption that the standard possession order set forth in the Code is in the best interest of the child. The standard possession order was created to apply to children who are three or older. For children under the age of three, the standard possession order is not presumed to be appropriate. Instead, the courts must engage in an in-depth and case-specific analysis prior to issuing an order for possession of a child under three years old.

The Code sets forth numerous factors the courts should consider when developing a possession order for a child under three. For example, the courts should assess which party provided care for the child prior to and during the current custody action and the party’s availability and willingness to care for the child personally. The courts will also look at the impact that separation from either parent would have on the child, whether the child has any sibling, or if there is any other party that may have an impact on the child that would be present during periods of possession.

Further, the courts will weigh the physical, developmental, and medical needs of the child, and the health, economic, and social conditions of the parents. The Code also dictates that the courts should evaluate the child’s need for routine as well as their need to develop a healthy relationship with both parents and the location of the parties’ homes.

The courts can also consider any other factor they deem relevant, or that relates to what is in the best interest of the child when determining possession rights. The Code does not indicate that any one factor should be granted more weight than another. In addition to issuing a current possession order, the courts must issue a prospective order that will go into effect when the child turns three. In most instances, the prospective order will be the standard possession order.

Contact an Assertive Dallas Lawyer

Sharing custody of children can be difficult, especially when they are young, but the courts’ focus when determining custody rights is what is in the best interest of the child involved. If you need assistance with a custody matter, you should contact an attorney to discuss your options. The assertive Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group have ample experience handling custody disputes, and we will gather the evidence needed to provide you with a good chance of achieving a favorable result. We help parties navigate custody disputes in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Frisco, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, and Garland. We also represent parties in family-law cases in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can contact us by calling 214.692.8200 or using our online form to schedule a confidential consultation.

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"Kelly is detailed oriented and she truly cares about her clients. Her knowledge of the laws and her ability to get a case resolved make her stand far above others. I highly recommend McClure for your family law needs!" Peter Morgan