6034 West Courtyard Drive, Suite 100,
Austin, TX 78730

Call Us512-610-6199

TX family lawyerThe COVID-19 crisis has affected everyone in the United States, and while vaccines are currently being made available, the pandemic will likely continue to affect people and families throughout 2021 and beyond. Because of this, parents will want to make sure they are following the proper measures to protect themselves, their children, and other loved ones. If you are a parent who is currently going through a divorce, you may have already had to address a variety of complex child custody issues, and COVID-19 may have complicated these matters even further. Fortunately, by working with an experienced attorney, you can take steps to protect your parental rights and ensure that your children can remain safe and healthy.

Child Custody for Those Affected by COVID-19

Many families are able to avoid COVID-19 infections by following social distancing guidelines, staying home whenever possible, wearing masks when in public, and making sure all family members wash their hands regularly. However, there are some cases where family members may need to take additional precautions due to increased risks of infection. For example, if a parent works in the healthcare field and is regularly exposed to those who have been infected, they may need to take additional measures to ensure that they do not inadvertently spread the virus to their children.

If a parent becomes infected with COVID-19, or if another person in their household is infected, they should be sure to quarantine themselves and follow all necessary restrictions to ensure that they do not spread the infection to their children. This may mean that they will not be able to have their regular visitation with children. Parents may need to make special arrangements in these cases, such as by having “virtual visitation” with children through video conferencing apps like Zoom or planning to adjust schedules in the future to make up for lost visitation time.

...

TX custodyWhen a couple chooses to end their relationship, they will usually need to address a variety of issues as they decide how they will proceed with the process of separating their lives from each other. While any type of breakup can be difficult, a situation can become much more complicated when children are involved. Married parents who are planning to get a divorce or unmarried couples who wish to establish their parental roles and responsibilities going forward will need to consider multiple different legal issues. While this is true for all couples, there are some cases that involve complex child custody disputes, and parents in these situations will want to be sure to understand their rights and the steps they can take to protect their children’s best interests.

Situations That May Involve Complex Child Custody Concerns

Texas child custody cases typically involve two separate issues: conservatorship and visitation. Conservatorship, which is also known as legal custody, refers to the right to make decisions about how a child will be raised. In most divorce cases, courts prefer to name parents as “joint managing conservators,” meaning they will share in the responsibility of making decisions for their child. Parents will usually also share physical custody, meaning that they will both have reasonable amounts of visitation time with the child.

During a child custody case, a parenting plan will be created that specifies how conservatorship and visitation will be handled. While parents may be able to reach an agreement on a parenting plan, there are some cases where disputes over child custody must be resolved in court. Some situations that may lead to complex child custody disputes include:

...

TX divorce lawyerWhen parents get divorced, they may need to address a wide variety of complex child custody issues. In addition to determining how they will work together to raise their children going forward, they will need to make decisions about when children will spend time with each parent, who will have a say in major decisions about children’s lives, and other matters related to parents’ rights and responsibilities.

Whether parents are able to reach an agreement on these decisions, or a judge makes a final ruling on matters related to child custody, the terms of the parents’ divorce decree are meant to remain in place going forward. However, parents may wish to modify the terms of their parenting agreement in some situations, including cases where a parent plans to move to a new home with their children. Both parents will want to understand their rights and the procedures followed in cases involving parental relocation.

Parental Relocations and Geographical Restrictions

In most Texas divorce cases, parents will be named as “joint managing conservators” of their children. This means that they will share equal rights and responsibilities when making decisions about how their children should be raised. However, one parent will usually be granted the exclusive right to determine the children’s primary residence. This parent will typically be the “custodial parent” with whom children spend most of their time.

...

TX divorce lawyerWhen parents choose to end their marriage through divorce, they may need to address a variety of complex child custody issues. While parents may be able to work together to reach agreements regarding how they will share custody, disagreements over these or other issues can sometimes spiral out of control and turn threatening or violent. In situations involving family violence or where a parent fears for the safety of themselves or their children, a protective order can address these concerns. However, protective orders can also be based on false accusations, or they may be used in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage during divorce. Those who wish to obtain or defend against a protective order should be sure to work with an experienced family law attorney.

What Can a Protective Order Do?

If a person has allegedly committed acts of family violence (including physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, threats to harm a person, or kidnapping) against their spouse, ex-spouse, dating partner, or children in their household, their current or former partner can file a petition for an emergency protective order in family court. This type of restraining order is known as a temporary ex parte protective order. An emergency protective order will be in effect for 14 days, and a hearing will be held to determine whether a permanent protective order will be necessary.

A protective order can place a number of requirements on the respondent, (the spouse who is accused of committing acts of family violence), as well as the petitioner (the spouse who petitioned the court for protection). Typically, a protective order will require the respondent to stay a certain distance away from the petitioner, their children, and other members of their household, and it may state that the respondent cannot go near certain places such as a home, workplace, school, or daycare center. The respondent will also be prohibited from communicating directly or indirectly with the respondent or other family members in a threatening or harassing manner or engaging in behavior meant to harass, threaten, annoy, or embarrass them.

...

TX divorce lawyerIf you are planning to end your marriage, you will need to address a wide variety of legal issues. In a contested divorce, disputes with your spouse can become highly contentious, and if you have children together, you will likely disagree about how you will share in parenting duties and divide the time that your children spend in each of your homes. If you are struggling to reach agreements about complex child custody issues, the judge in your case may decide that a child custody evaluation is needed. Depending on the circumstances of your case, either a guardian ad litem or another type of child custody evaluator may be appointed.

What Is a Guardian ad Litem?

The court may appoint a person who will represent the best interests of the child in a divorce or child custody case. In many cases, a guardian ad litem will be an attorney, but they may also be another person who has the training and experience necessary to determine what is in a child’s best interests.

The guardian ad litem, or GAL, will conduct an investigation and gather information about the case. They may conduct interviews with a child who is at least four years old, the parents, and anyone else who has knowledge about the child’s history and circumstances, such as teachers or childcare providers. They will also be able to obtain records related to the child’s education, medical care, or psychological treatment.

...
Super Lawyers Super Lawyers TBLS AV Martindale
Avvo Top One Expert Top 10 Law Firm
Back to Top