Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 201 • Houston, Texas 77027-3139

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Texas Child Custody in Divorce

Many Houston couples will overlook all the aspects of joint custody when they divorce. They fail to consider future events, such as relocating for a job, can change their lives. These events affect their children.

Texas Family courts base their decisions on what is in the child’s best interests. Courts take into account things such as what a child requires emotionally and physically and the ability of each parent to provide for the child in a stable home. Since long, drawn out custody battles usually subject children to emotional distress, Texas Courts encourages parents to work together to come up with a custody plan before the custody (conservatorship) hearing.

The custody plan (parenting plan) that you and your spouse work out should include detail. Write down where your children will live, a weekend, holiday and school break schedule, and other visitations for the noncustodial parent. Don’t forget things that may change the schedule, such as relocation to another city or state for a job. Usually custody orders will prohibit the custodial parent from moving out of the surrounding area to another city or state.

If you and your ex-spouse agree on the parenting plan for your children, it is unusual for Texas Family Courts not to approve the agreement. If you and your spouse cannot agree, the Court will decide. If you’re in a situation where you and your spouse cannot work out a parenting plan, you should do everything in your power to reach an agreement with your spouse. Judges are more inclined to work with you and your spouse if you are cooperating.

Texas Child Custody Types

There are basically two types of child custody in Texas. The first is a managing conservatorship and the second is possession and access.

Managing conservatorship deals with parental rights. Joint managing conservatorship gives both parents equal say in decisions regarding their children’s schooling, medical care, and religious upbringing, among other things. Sole managing conservatorship (sole custody) gives all the decision making power to one party only. With the adoption of presumptive Joint Managing Conservatorship, Sole Managing Conservatorship is usually only awarded in instances where the child would suffer significant physical or emotional impairment in a joint conservatorship.

Being the joint managing conservator of your children doesn’t automatically mean that your children will live with you. The second form of conservatorship in Texas, possessory conservatorship, deals with which party has physical possession of the children and the access rights of the non-custodial parent to his or her children. If you are awarded possessory conservatorship of your children, your spouse will almost always will have access, unless the Houston Family Court finds that it is not in the best interest of the children.

Texas Family Courts always consider a child’s best interest in a divorce. Stability of home life is important. Once a Harris County (Houston) Family Court has issued the conservatorship order, you can’t modify your parenting plan unless your spouse agrees to the change or your situation drastically changes. Be aware that changing a conservatorship order will mean another trip to court, even if you and your spouse agree to the modification.

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C.
Houston Divorce Attorneys

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