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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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new Texas family lawIn May, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1495, which prohibits courts from temporarily granting a parent the exclusive right to determine a child’s primary residence in certain cases. For instance, the law will only apply in situations where two parents have agreed that neither will have the exclusive right to decide where their child lives. This means that when no parent has been granted the exclusive right to decide where a child will primarily reside, courts cannot step in to grant this right to one of the parties temporarily while a suit for modification is pending. The law went into effect on September 1st, so if you have questions about how it could affect your pending child custody case, please contact an experienced complex child custody attorney who can explain your options.

Restrictions and Exceptions

In addition to prohibiting courts from granting a temporary order that gives one parent the right to choose a child’s primary residence, the new law also states that no temporary order can change or eliminate the geographic area within which a parent must maintain a child’s primary residence. This means that when a suit for modification of an order is pending, judges are not allowed to permit one parent to take the child outside of a certain geographic area, as this would essentially give that individual primary custody. However, these limitations only apply when a suit involves the modification of an order that provides for one of the following:

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Texas child custody lawyer, Texas complex custody lawyerIn Texas, courts are sometimes willing to take a child’s opinion about where he or she wants to live into consideration when resolving a divorce-related matter. However, the primary focus of all family law judges is the best interests of the child, which means that they will not always take a child’s opinion into account when determining a custody schedule. To speak with an experienced complex child custody attorney about your concerns or questions, please contact a member of our legal team today.

Custody Arrangements

Texas courts presume that it is usually in the best interests of a child to split custody evenly between two parents. This means that parents will have equal decision-making authority and will split physical custody 50/50. The specific schedule, however, will depend on the parties’ circumstances. Custody schedules can also be modified at a later date, which is often necessary when a child enters high school and does not require the same amount of supervision. At this point, judges are also often willing to consider a child’s preferences, which may have changed from when he or she was younger.

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Texas custody attorney, Texas family law attorneyA new law, House Bill 453, was recently introduced in the Texas Legislature. If passed, the law would establish a presumption of equality between both fathers and mothers in regards to the division of parenting time during divorce proceedings. Technically, the legal presumption that favored mothers over fathers was eliminated in 1974. However, the law still provides that one parent will be the main custodian of the child, leaving the other parent time according to a standard schedule. If passed, the new law could significantly affect custody determinations, so if you are considering a divorce and have children, it is important to contact an experienced Williamson County complex child custody attorney who can explain your legal options.

House Bill 453

Currently, Texas law does not retain a provision for an equal division of parenting time between both parents. Although some judges consider granting schedules that reflect this policy, many others do not. House Bill 453 attempts to address this by changing the law to help parents share the duties and rights of raising a child equally, even after a marriage is dissolved.

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Texas complex litigation attorney, Texas complex custody lawyerThis year, a number of family law-related bills will be introduced in Texas. For instance, one new bill will make significant changes to the guidelines regarding access to grandchildren. This area of the law can be complicated, so if you have questions or concerns about your visitation rights with a grandchild, it is crucial to speak with an experienced complex child custody attorney who can explain your legal rights and obligations.

Filing a Petition

Currently, Texas law allows grandparents to request access to a grandchild by either:

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Posted on in Child Custody

Texas child custody attorney, Texas family law attorneyThe holidays can be a difficult time for families who have recently gone through a divorce. Creating and adhering to a parenting plan can make all the difference in helping children transition to a new time-sharing schedule, while also allowing them to enjoy the holidays, so if you are currently going through a divorce or have questions about a parenting plan or standard possession order, it is important to contact an experienced complex child custody attorney who can help protect the interests of both you and your children.

Standard Visitation Guidelines

It is usually in a family’s best interest to attempt to reach a voluntary custody agreement outside of court. This leaves the parents in control of the outcome and can help avoid the expense and stress that often comes with going to court. However, coming to an agreement is sometimes impossible, at which point a family court will need to step in and draft a standard possession order (SPO). The typical SPO makes standard arrangements for holiday visitation, including winter break, although courts can alter the SPO if doing so would be in the best interests of the child.

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Texas custody laws, Teas complex custody attorneyMaking custody arrangements is one of the most legally complex and emotionally draining aspects of any divorce. These situations can become even more stressful when one or both of a child’s parents are members of the military. Although Texas family law specifically addresses these issues, navigating the court system and fulfilling procedural requirements can still be difficult, so if you are considering a divorce and either you or a spouse are a member of the military, it is critical to contact an experienced complex child custody attorney who can help explain your legal options.

Deployment of a Custodial Parent

Many custodial parents are also members of the armed forces and so are subject to deployment. In these situations, Texas law permits custodial parents to designate another person to take temporary custody of the child. After assessing the child’s best interests a court will grant custody to one of the following individuals:

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Texas complex custody attorney, Texas visitation lawsIn Texas, parents who are involved in divorce proceedings have the option of drafting a parenting plan that sets up a specific visitation schedule. However, when a couple is unable to come to an agreement, the court may choose to implement the standard visitation schedule created by statute, which guarantees parents visitation with their children on certain holidays. Determining when a parent has visitation with his or her child can be difficult and emotionally taxing, but by failing to come to an agreement outside of court, parents largely give up their control over the terms of the custody arrangement, which can lead to an unsatisfactory result for all parties. If you are considering a divorce and have questions or concerns about visitation on holidays, it is important to obtain the advice of an experienced child custody attorney who can help you draft a parenting plan that is in your child’s best interest.

Thanksgiving and Christmas Vacations

Usually, visitation schedules depend partly on the distance between the parents’ residences. However, in court-ordered custody arrangements, possession on certain holidays is predetermined, regardless of distance, unless a child’s best interest dictates otherwise. For instance, non-custodial parents are granted access to their child during the Christmas holidays:

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