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TX family lawyerIn Texas, child custody cases run the gamut from hotly contested legal disputes to amicable, mutual agreements, and everything in between. As a parent, you should know that any child custody matter comes with its own set of challenges. While a joint custody agreement may not be as emotionally draining and stressful as a contested custody trial, you can still benefit from the representation of an experienced family law attorney who can help you protect your children’s interests.

Establishing a Joint Managing Conservatorship

Under Texas law, there are several possible custody arrangements between parents who are unmarried or getting divorced. In some cases, one parent may be granted sole custody and visitation rights. In others, one parent may have primary decision-making authority regarding the child, while the other parent has scheduled visitation. However, the most cooperative custody arrangement is known as a joint managing conservatorship.

In a joint managing conservatorship, both parents have certain rights and responsibilities with respect to their children. These include the right to contribute to important decisions regarding the children’s education, health, well-being, and assets, as well as the right to access information related to these matters. Parents in a joint managing conservatorship also have the responsibility to keep each other reasonably informed of important information regarding the children, and to provide for the children’s care needs while the children are in their possession.

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TX family lawyerMany grandparents care deeply for their grandchildren, and it can be difficult for them to see their grandchildren being raised in an environment that they feel is not in the children’s best interests. Even harder is a situation in which the child’s parents prevent a grandparent from spending any time with their grandchild. It is not uncommon for grandparents in these cases to consider pursuing custody of their grandchildren. However, under Texas law, the circumstances under which a grandparent can file a custody suit are actually quite limited. If you find yourself in a dispute of this nature, whether you are the grandparent or the parent, an attorney can help you understand your rights.

Does a Grandparent Have Standing to File a Texas Custody Suit?

The Texas Family Code lists all of the parties that have standing to file a “suit affecting the parent-child relationship,” which includes custody suits. Some of the parties mentioned include the child’s parent, legal guardian, alleged father, or a governmental entity like the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Grandparents, as well as certain other relatives like siblings, aunts, and uncles, can typically file a custody suit only if the child’s parents are both deceased.

However, there are a few other situations in which a grandparent may be able to file a suit even if one or both of the child’s parents are still living. One example is when the grandparent can provide evidence that the child’s current custody and living arrangements are detrimental to the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health or development. Another example is when any surviving parents have agreed to allow the grandparent to file suit.

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TX high net worth divorce attorneyFor parents, the end of a marriage usually means a child custody order is necessary to outline each parent’s rights and responsibilities regarding the children. However, in most divorce cases, the family’s living arrangements change well before the divorce is completed. As such, it is often important to make child custody decisions before the final resolution is approved. If you and your spouse are living apart while your divorce case is pending, petitioning for a temporary child custody order can help you resolve issues related to your children’s immediate living arrangements.

What Can a Temporary Custody Order Include?

Perhaps the most pressing issue in a pending divorce when the spouses are living separately is how much time the children will spend living with each parent. A temporary custody order can include a visitation schedule, as well as provisions for transportation and exchanges between parents. It can also address other important custody issues, such as how you and your spouse will share responsibilities for making important decisions about your children’s health and education during the divorce process.

Along with addressing custody and visitation, it is often important to address child support through a temporary order. Temporary child support decisions are usually handled similarly to more permanent child support orders, with the non-custodial parent making periodic payments to the custodial parent. This ensures that both parents are contributing financially to their children despite not living in the same household.

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TX family lawyerIn a Texas divorce, parents of young children must resolve the issues of custody and visitation. This can come with many challenges, including how to fairly allocate time with the children and decision-making responsibilities now that the parents will no longer live together. However, there is usually little question as to whether each parent has rights regarding the child. On the other hand, when a child is born to unmarried parents, questions of parental rights and child custody are of immediate concern upon the child’s birth. If you have a child out of wedlock, it is important to understand what you may need to do in order to obtain custody.

Establishing Parentage in Texas

In most cases, when a child is born to an unmarried woman in Texas, she is considered to be the child’s mother with all of the rights that come with the parent-child relationship, including custody of the child. However, in this case, the child’s father often does not have automatic parental rights, meaning that the mother will have sole custody and the father will not be legally entitled to custody or visitation.

If an unmarried father wishes to secure parental rights, he will need to do one of the following:

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TX custody lawyerIn a divorce or family law case involving minor children, parents have many important issues to resolve, particularly when it comes to each parent’s custody and visitation rights. Unfortunately, these issues often become contentious, in part because of the strong emotions that they are likely to bring to the forefront. Other factors, including where each parent lives, can make for additional complications. If you and your child’s other parent live in different states, you may need to prepare for some unique challenges when addressing legal custody concerns.

Does Texas Have Jurisdiction Over Your Custody Case?

If you live in Texas while your child’s other parent lives in another state, one of the first things you will need to determine is whether the state of Texas has the authority to hear your child custody case. Based on the terms of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Texas typically only has jurisdiction when it is considered to be the child’s home state.

Generally, this means that the child currently lives in Texas with a parent and has done so for at least six months. If the child is not currently living in Texas, it may still be considered their home state if they lived in Texas with a parent within six months of the start of the legal custody action. This means that if the other parent moves with your child out of Texas, it is important to act quickly if you want your case to be heard in this state.

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