Texas Divorce Custody
Texas divorce custody cases are dealt with the premise that both the parents are declared to be “Joint Managing Conservators” of the child and the term “Conservatorship” is nothing but custody of the child before and after divorce. Divorcing spouses are advised to reach to a consensus themselves, maybe with the help of a custody mediator, to arrive at an agreement regarding custody of their child. In case, they fail to achieve agreement, the courts step in.
Following are the guidelines which are generally followed by the courts of Texas:
Texas laws believe that children should be treated and handled with great care. Hence, parents getting custody rights are called “conservators”. Every step is taken to ensure that the child grows up in a balanced atmosphere of good health and a promising future.
- As is true in all the states of USA, best interests of the child are given the top most priority while child custody is awarded to a particular. Best interests of the child include the emotional and physical needs of the child. In such child custody cases, the parent who bonds well with the child is considered to have a better case in the court.
- Texas divorce custody cases are settled taking into account the safety and security of the child so that he/she is sheltered away from any form of physical abuse and violence. The parent who can provide the best kind of atmosphere in terms of providing a safe haven for the growth of the child stands a better chance of getting the custody.
- Mental and physical health of the parents are also considered while assessing the divorce custody cases in Texas. If any parent is considered to be unfit owing to any mental ailment or physical illness, then the judge would award the child custody to the other spouse.
- It has been seen that some judges interact with the child of 12 and above in their private chambers without the presence of the attorneys and parents, regarding their parental preference. Texas divorce custody battles are then settled through consideration of the child’s wishes also. However, judges are careful that the child has not been influenced by any parent or is speaking out of pressure.
- Any history of child abuse, neglect or any activity which had a detrimental effect on the well-being of the child is looked upon to decide the parent who gets the custody of the child. Only if the judge is convinced that there has been no child abuse or neglect of any sort would he/she prefer to declare the parents as joint custodians or joint conservators of the child.
- Judges handling Texas divorce custody cases take into consideration the geographical relocation of the parent who might be preferred for custody. The present community in which the child is growing offers the best environment for his/her development unless the judge is sure of it being detrimental to the child. The parent who can offer least change in the child’s surrounding community has a higher chance of getting the child custody in Texas.
- Judges in Texas courts stress on involvement of divorce custody mediators to arrive at a consensual parenting plan. The divorced parents may be asked to attend divorce or parenting education classes before proceeding with the divorce custody battles.
- Child support is another important issue that judges in Texas divorce custody cases consider while awarding child custody. The non-custodian parent is asked to give financial support to the custodian parent to meet the health, education and other expenses of the child. Even if the non-custodian parent is stripped of his/her visitation rights, still he/she is expected to extend child support. In many cases, if the non-custodian parent is financially capable then both of their incomes are pooled in to arrive at the child custody figure.
- In Texas, ex-spouses may approach the courts for modifications in divorce custody orders. Courts may entertain them only if they are convinced that the best interests of the child are not met owing to remarriage of the custodian parent to an abusive partner, geographical relocation, exhibiting violation of visitation rights etc.