child custody laws

Understanding Child Custody Laws in Richmond TX

Understanding Child Custody Laws in Richmond TX

By David Gutierrez |

child custody laws

Going through a divorce is never an easy process for anyone. That is even more true when there is a child involved. Child custody is often not easily determined right off the bat. Several laws ensure that the child ends up in the safest hands possible while meeting the parent’s wishes. If you are in the process of a divorce in Texas and share a child with the other person, understanding the child custody laws will help you understand your options.

So, are you in a disagreement about custody and want to know what options are available to you? Then, keep reading for a guide to Richmond, Texas custody laws.

Parenting Classes

Before your divorce can be final, the Texas court mandates that both parental parties need to take a parenting course. A divorce is a traumatizing event for the parents, but even more so for the children involved. The state requires these courses so that both parents know how to care for a child on their own.

These courses:

  • Teach child development
  • Show parent’s how to discipline children without abuse
  • Highlight resources parents can use if there is a familial problem
  • Let parents recognize their strong points
  • Show parents how to meet with other parents of divorce for support

These courses do not pertain to one parent. By state law, both parents must take and complete these courses unless granted a waiver. If you cannot meet at a physical class, there are plenty of online parenting classes you can and complete from the comfort of your own home.

Child Mediation or Legal and Physical Custody

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that helps parents form a child custody agreement. During mediation, you meet with a mediator, often in a private setting like their office.

The mediator’s purpose is to ensure a constructive talk between the parents instead of fighting or bickering. You will then discuss and formulate a parenting plan for both parents.

If you hit any snags in your agreement, the mediator will guide you through and offer suggestions. During this time, you will be conversing over legal or physical custody.

Under the Texas Family Code, if a parent has legal custody, they have the right to make critical decisions regarding the child’s schooling, religion, and health. And if they have physical custody, then that means that the child lives with the appointed parent who will care for them daily.

How Custody Is Decided in Texas

Section 154.004 of the Texas Family Code notes that the best interests of the child come into consideration. Under this standard, a Texas court evaluates things like:

  • Both parent’s home environment
  • How far away each parent is from one another
  • The parent’s caretaking abilities/qualifications
  • Parent’s compatibility to work as a team
  • Financial situations
  • Employment

Along with this, the child’s preferences play a big part in the court’s decision. They also think about the future and what the child will need on an emotional and physical level. Each parent can discuss their parenting plans and show why their living environment is best suited for the child.

If you want an appointed conservatorship, you will need to exhibit good behavior to the court. As discussed, legal conservatorship means you can make decisions for the child’s life.

A possessory conservatorship states that you have visitation rights but cannot make final life decisions for the child. However, one of the primary forms that parents aim for is joint conservatorship.

That is when both parents have custody of the child and make shared decisions for their well-being. According to the Texas Family Code, chapter 153, subchapter C, Texas courts prefer joint custody as it is fair to both parties.

It also allows the child to share equal time with their parents. However, you should note that a court will not grant joint conservatorship if they find evidence of abuse or neglect.

How to Get Full Custody

If you do not feel comfortable with their child visiting the other parent’s home, they can file for full custody. That means that there is little to no visitation, and you have full possession and legal rights.

However, achieving sole custody is not as easy as you would believe. To terminate one parent’s rights, you must exhibit clear evidence of abuse or neglect.

The court has to see that the other parent has a history of drug use, alcohol, or child abandonment/endangerment. A multitude of felony charges are also grounds for full custody of a child.

Since Texas courts prefer joint conservatorship, getting full custody is a challenge. But if there are legitimate reasons for terminating one’s rights to raise a child, a court will take them seriously.

A Father’s Rights

Courts often rule in favor of the mother. That makes it frustrating for a father who wants to care for their child. But the father has the same rights as the mother.

They can request visitation and discuss how many days or how long they will see their child. Since there is a bias against fathers during divorce battles, you should do your best to work with the mother and present evidence of a safe and loving home environment.

Be sure to show an interest in your little one’s day-to-day life, such as their extracurricular activities, schooling, and playtime. Record a logbook that details how much time you spend with your child. A father who makes time is more likely to win joint custody with the mother.

For More on Child Custody Laws

As you can tell, many child custody laws serve to protect the child and the rights of the parents. To get joint, primary, or full custody, a court has to review your situation and determine what would be in the child’s best interests. We hope this article helps you understand the laws and your options a bit better.

At The Vendt Law Firm, we want to protect your rights and help ease the pain of divorce as best we can. If you are in a custody battle in Richmond, TX, do not hesitate to contact us today. We can begin reviewing your case and win you the outcome you deserve.