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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.

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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.

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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.

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TX custody lawyerIn a high asset divorce in Texas involving minor children from the marriage, each spouse’s assets may not be equal, and the lesser earning spouse may worry that income or assets could impact the court’s child custody decision. To put it another way, in high net worth divorces where one of the spouses is the high earner or has significant family money, the other spouse might have concerns about whether a relative lack of income and assets could mean that she or he will not be eligible for child custody.

It is important for parents to know that the Texas Family Code provides guidance for making child custody determinations (known as conservatorships in Texas), and the focus of any child custody order is the “best interest of the child” standard. To be clear, Texas courts take into account a wide variety of factors in deciding what type of child custody situation is in the child’s best interests. While a parent’s income or assets could play a role in some of those factors, it is essential to know that a parent’s earning ability or relative assets are not a factor for deciding who will be a conservator for the child. A Texas high net worth divorce attorney can say more.

Texas Public Policy Focuses on Both Parents’ Rights When it Comes to Their Kids

The Texas Family Code makes clear that it is “public policy of this state” to do all of the following:

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Posted on in Child Custody

Texas divorce lawyerCouples with significant assets who decide to dissolve their marriage face a host of unique issues that don’t come up in standard divorces. For instance, couples with diverse assets must often obtain appraisals for antiques, jewelry, and business interests, in addition to retirement benefits, stocks and bonds, and bank accounts. While these issues are unique to high asset divorces, there are some aspects of divorce that remain the same regardless of the amount of the parties’ assets. This is especially true in cases that involve children, as those who are not able to come to an out-of-court agreement regarding custody, parenting time, and visitation will need to place their case before the court. In these cases, judges often look to the state’s standard summer visitation schedule when making custody decisions. For an explanation of these guidelines and how they could affect your own custody arrangements, please contact an experienced Leander high asset divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Managing Conservators

In Texas, courts have a large amount of discretion when it comes to making custody arrangements. However, there is a presumption that granting parents equal time with their child is in the parties’ best interests. For this reason, many divorcing parents are deemed to be joint managing conservators, which means that they share the rights and obligations to make decisions regarding the child’s education, health, and welfare. Even in these cases, it is common for one parent to be named the managing conservator, which means that he or she would have the responsibility of deciding where the child will primarily reside. When one parent is named the managing conservator, the other will be considered to be the possessory conservator, which means that they could have 50-50 possession, standard visitation, or expanded visitation.

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