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TX family lawyerIn the Lone Star State, many couples decide to build a life together and raise children without tying the knot. However, just like married couples, unmarried partners may face the challenges of a breakup. When children are involved, determining legal child custody becomes crucial. Without a clear plan, one parent might decide to up and move, leaving the other parent with limited legal rights to contest the move or participate in important decisions in their child's life. If this is your case, you should contact a Texas child custody attorney.

What Are the Legal Steps For Unmarried Parents?

For couples who never walked down the aisle, Texas law steps in to ensure the best interests of the child are safeguarded. When it comes to child custody, unmarried parents have the opportunity to create a parenting plan or seek a court order to establish legal rights and responsibilities. This plan outlines crucial details such as where the child will live, visitation schedules, and decision-making authority.

What Does the Best Interest of A Child Mean?

The court considers various factors when deciding on custody arrangements, including each parent's ability to provide a stable home, the child's relationship with each parent, and the child's physical and emotional needs. It is essential for unmarried parents to understand that, without a legal arrangement, both parents have equal rights to the child. This means either parent can relocate without the other's consent, potentially disrupting the child's life and the non-moving parent's access.


drinking-driving.jpgWhen parents are in a bitter divorce or custody battle, crafting a parenting plan that meets their child's needs becomes more complex. It gets even tougher when one parent accuses the other of substance abuse. When one parent questions the other's fitness, finding a mutual solution can be challenging. Our legal team excels in handling such complex child custody cases, advocating for our clients before mediators, arbitrators, or judges. You need a skilled Texas attorney who can deal with such intricate cases.

Can a DUI Charge Affect Child Custody in Texas?

As a parent, your child's safety is your top priority. Every year, tragic accidents occur in Texas due to drunk driving, which raises serious concerns about the safety and well-being of a child if a parent is facing DUI charges. If you are going through a child custody battle or a divorce and discover that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is arrested for DUI, this could impact custody, even if your child was not in the car at the time of the DUI arrest.

What is the Role of a Guardian ad Litem?

In Texas family courts, when a judge is deciding on child custody matters and one parent is dealing with DUI charges, a guardian ad litem, a special attorney, is typically appointed to investigate the situation and represent the child's best interests. The attorney’s primary goal is to provide the judge with a comprehensive report and recommendations. Here are some key tasks that a guardian ad litem may undertake:


TX family lawyerMany loving grandparents jump at the opportunity to care for their grandkids especially if they learn that their little ones are growing up in an environment that is not safe or in their best interest. In cases where parents do not let grandparents spend time with their grandkids, some may decide to battle this out in court. However, situations where a grandparent can file for child custody are fairly specific. If you are caught in a family feud like this, whether you are a grandparent or a parent, an Austin lawyer can be your guide to understanding your rights.

When Can Grandparents File for Child Custody?

Under Texas law, there are rules as to who can kick off a legal showdown affecting the parent-child relationship. Grandparents usually get a shot at filing a custody case only when both of the child's parents have checked out. Sometimes, even if one or both parents are still in the picture, a grandparent might just squeeze through the legal door. For example, if a grandparent can prove that the child’s current living situation is unhealthy for their physical, mental, or emotional well-being, they may have a fighting chance. Other situations include the following: 

  • There are also those rare cases in which parents just step out of the way and let the grandparents take over. 
  • In cases where grandparents have been hands-on caregivers for at least six months, they have a green light to file for custody. 
  • If a grandparent has been sharing the home with the child for half a year, and a parent has died. 

Do Grandparents Have a Fighting Chance in Child Custody Cases?

In Texas, the legal system usually starts with the idea that it is best for a child to stay with their parents. So, grandparents aiming to get custody from a parent often face a tough challenge. But, here is the twist: in every child custody case in Texas, the main thing the judge cares about is what is best for the child. In this showdown, everyone involved should be ready to present solid evidence showing they can really look out for the child's well-being. They may have to gear up for a guardian ad litem to dig into their case, too.


TX custody lawyerA divorce can be emotional especially when children are involved. But when a child with health or educational needs is caught in the middle of a complex child custody battle, some parents will fight to extremes. Perhaps they are triggered by a misconception that the maternal instinct of a mother will weigh heavily in court and that the mother will get automatic custody. A Texas attorney can help you understand your options and what the courts will look at in these child custody cases.  

Is a Mother More Likely to Get Custody of a Special Needs Child?

Under the Texas State Constitution custody decisions are not made based on the gender of a parent. When the court determines child custody and visitation, it takes a look at what will be in the best interest of the child, whether the child has special needs or not. Therefore, if a father was very involved in the life of his child before the divorce, he deserves to be allowed to strengthen that bond. This could also show the court that he is the better parent to raise his children.

How Does the Court Decide Which Parent Gets Custody of a Special Needs Child?

When it comes to child custody of children with special needs, disagreements can be about everything, from treatments to educational choices. Under Texas law, the court will usually appoint one parent as the guardian or it may appoint a child advocate to represent the interests of the child with special needs. Texas family courts consider the following factors to determine future custody arrangements:


Austin Child Custody Lawyer In Texas, as in many other states, child custody matters can become complex and emotionally challenging for unmarried couples who are separating. Unlike married couples, unmarried partners don't automatically have the same legal rights regarding child custody and visitation. Having an experienced Austin child custody attorney who can shed light on the child custody rights that unmarried couples have in Texas and provide insights into potential legal options to navigate these sensitive issues is imperative.

Understanding Parental Rights for Unmarried Couples

In Texas, the parent-child relationship is presumed for a child born to a married couple. However, for unmarried couples, establishing parental rights requires legal action. 

Texas law recognizes the biological mother as the child's natural guardian, granting her sole custody unless otherwise determined by the court. Consequently, the biological father doesn't have automatic parental rights, even if he is named on the birth certificate.

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