In Texas,the courts will grant some form of shared custody in most cases where there is a custody dispute. In some cases, however, where it is clear that only one parent should have legal or physical custody of a child, the court will grant one parent sole custody. If you do not believe a joint custody arrangement is beneficial to your child, it is wise to retain an experienced legal team to assist you in the difficult process of seeking sole custody. The Dallas child custody lawyers of the McClure Law Group have the skills and knowledge necessary to help you present a persuasive case and pursue the outcome you believe is best for your child.When is Sole Custody Necessary?
Under Texas law, the court determining custody of a child looks at several factors, including which parent has historically been the primary caretaker for the child, each parent’s resources and capabilities for caring for the child, and any history of domestic or child abuse from either parent or anyone in their household. The court will also weigh the child’s current and future needs, and if the child is of an appropriate age, the child’s wishes. The determining factor in deciding how custody should be divided is what is in the best interest of the child. While the presumption is that a joint custody arrangement is in a child’s best interest, the presumption is rebuttable, and one parent may be granted sole custody if it is determined to be beneficial to the child. A sole custody arrangement may become necessary when one parent is unwilling or unable to care for a child. A parent may be unable to care for a child due to poor health, economic hardship, or work or personal obligations. If the parents of a child live far apart, the distance of a child’s school from either parent’s residence may require a sole custody arrangement.
In some cases, parents will recognize that a sole custody arrangement makes the most sense and will enter into a sole custody agreement. Any agreement must be presented to the court, which will review the agreement and approve it if it is found to be in the best interest of the child. In most cases where one parent is seeking sole custody of a child, however, it is contested, and court intervention is necessary to determine the custody arrangement, and an experienced family law attorney can help you make your case.Sole Legal Custody
What is generally thought of as legal custody is defined as a conservatorship under Texas law. Conservatorship deals with the rights to make legal decisions affecting the child, such as the primary residence of the child, where the child will attend school, what medical providers the child will see, and what the child’s religious upbringing will be. Conservatorship may be joint, with one parent being the managing conservator, or sole, where only one parent is the sole managing conservator. When a parent is the sole conservator, he or she does not have to consult with the child’s other parent before making any decisions regarding the child’s care or upbringing. A sole conservatorship does not automatically preclude the non-conservator parent from visitation or access to the child.Physical Custody
Physical custody, as it is typically known, is deemed possession under Texas law. Possession is the right to visitation with a child. The Texas Family Code provides for a standard possession order that sets forth a schedule for visitation that is presumed to be in the best interest of the child. Courts are not required to adhere to the standard possession order, however, or to grant parents equal visitation to a child. As in all decisions regarding child custody, the determining factor is what is in the best interest of the child.Sole Custody and Child Support
Even if one parent has sole legal and physical custody of a child, the other parent may be responsible for providing financial support for the child. Child support obligations are based on the income of the non-possessory parent. Support orders generally impose an obligation to make payments until the child provided for under the order reaches the age of majority. In some cases, such as where a child has special needs, support orders may extend past the age of majority.Set up a Consultation With a Skilled Child Custody Attorney in the Dallas Area
While generally it is beneficial for parents to be joint managing conservators, in some circumstances it is in the child’s best interest for one parent to have sole custody. If you are seeking sole custody of your child, it is important to retain counsel experienced in navigating the Texas family law courts to assist you in the complicated process of pursuing sole custody. The McClure Law Group is mindful of the sensitive nature of custody disputes, and our lawyers will work tirelessly to assist you, whether you are seeking to establish a custody arrangement for the first time, or modify an existing agreement. Contact us at 214.692.8200 or via our online form to set up a consultation.