For parents beginning a divorce proceeding, or unmarried parents splitting up, the issue of child custody is often at the forefront of their concerns. Knowing who will receive custody and visitation rights, and the details regarding those rights, are often at the core of most child custody cases. In Texas, child custody is known as conservatorship, and when parents go through a divorce, they are often required to agree on a custody plan or allow the judge to decide the terms of conservatorship.
After many divorce cases, both parents want to stay in their children’s lives as much as possible. Often, they want to make the transition from living with both parents to living with the custodial parent as hassle-free as possible. And to aim for a smooth child custody case, it is critical to have the help of a Mansfield-Fort Worth child custody attorney at your side. At the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart, our goal is to put the child’s interests first, while keeping the child custody case civil. We aim to make sure that parents remain active, loving parts of their child or children’s lives.
Conservatorship and Child Custody Laws in Texas
Although there are many legal issues involved in divorce and child custody cases, it is essential to remember that, in Texas, judges will base their decisions on what is in the best interests of the child. Furthermore, Texas laws regarding conservatorship are in compliance with the Uniform Child Custody Act, which seeks to minimize the amount of conflict in these cases.
As such, parents are given several options regarding custody. They may choose a parenting plan that includes proposed custody and a visitation schedule, or they can leave it up to the courts to determine the nuances of the conservatorship and custody. In most cases, Texas family law courts consider both the interests of the child as well as a variety of other factors, including:
- If joint custody is a good option for the child’s physical, psychological, and emotional well-being
- If each parent will promote and encourage a relationship with the other parent
- If parents can communicate effectively and make important decisions for the child
- How much each parent contributed to the child’s well-being before the custody case
- How far away each parent’s home is from the other
- Any other factors that may affect the child’s standard-of-living and well-being
Types of Conservatorship
Generally, Fort Worth parents have two options when determining conservatorship:
- Joint managing conservatorship (JMC)
- Sole managing conservatorship (SMC)
Most parents are giving joint custody unless there is compelling evidence showing that one parent is unfit to have custody. Nevertheless, if there is a JMC order, both parents will have equal rights and access to their children. Judges will divide up their parental rights and determine which issues will be handled jointly or separately.
Sole managing conservatorship puts a greater amount of the parental rights in the hands of one parent. In some cases, SMC is granted if one parent has:
- A documented history of violence or abuse
- A documented history of alcohol or drug abuse, or other criminal activity
- Been absent for an extended period of time
- Had an extreme disagreement regarding the educational, religious, or medical concerns of the child
Furthermore, in sole managing conservatorship cases, the one parent is given the right to make major decisions about the child’s life without having to consult the other parent. These major decisions include education, medical, dental, and psychological issues, as well as location (where the child lives) and other factors. The sole custodian also makes decisions regarding emergencies.
Contact the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart Today
Child custody in Texas has always been a contentious issue, and these cases must be handled with delicacy, especially since the parents may be going through a rough time with their divorce or separation. Texas law and family law courts aim to make the child custody case as smooth and stress-free as possible, but in many cases, a prominent Fort Worth child custody attorney will be essential.
At the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart, we will make sure that you’re informed of your rights as well as the nuances of Texas child custody law. We will represent your interests, and the interests of your child, with the goal of creating an optimal environment for the child’s (and your) future. For a consultation with attorney Hart, call our Mansfield-Fort Worth law office today at (817) 842-2336.