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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:

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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 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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