Custody Attorney in Round Rock, TXProviding legal representation for child custody cases throughout Williamson County and the Austin area.
Helping Parents Reach Peaceful Resolution in Child Custody Cases
Every expert will tell you that children are the biggest losers when their parents’ relationship fails. If at all possible, it is best to keep custody disputes out of court, and to strive to reach a peaceful agreement on how to care for and support the children now that there will be two households. If parents do go to court, Texas law requires a judge to make decisions based on the children’s best interests, not the parents. A good family attorney will assist you in developing creative and workable solutions for the care and support of your children.
Child Custody in Williamson County
In Texas, child custody and visitation are called “possession and access” and the rights and duties associated with caring for children are covered by the term “conservatorship.” The laws related to possession, access and conservatorship are the same whether or not the parents are in the process of divorcing, or were never married. Most parents agree to share the rights and responsibilities of caring for their children, and follow the “standard possession schedule” set forth in the Texas Family Code. If the parties can’t agree on these terms, a judge will make a determination for them based on the best interests of the children. Only in extreme cases will a judge bar a parent from seeing his or her children, or give only one parent all of the rights and duties associated with parenting.
By its very nature, a custody order limits the amount of time each parent sees his or her children. To minimize the impact of this on both children and parents, judges usually restrict the children’s residence to a relatively small geographic area (usually to the county in which the children currently reside and those adjacent to it), to insure that both parents have frequent and continuing contact with their children. It’s generally very difficult to avoid or remove a residency restriction; however, judges do take into consideration factors such as job opportunities and the location of other family members when deciding whether or not to impose such a restriction.
Child Custody Modification
As children get older, their needs, desires and schedules change. Parents who are operating under a Final Decree of Divorce or another type of custody order often find that the current schedule is no longer workable. In some cases, parents agree to follow a different schedule without ever returning to court. However, unless the judge signs a new order reflecting the terms of the modified schedule, the parent’s agreement cannot be enforced in court. Most people prefer to memorialize the terms of their agreement in a new order to avoid future conflicts. If one parent wants to follow a new schedule and the other does not, the parent seeking to modify the order can file a Petition to Modify, provided his or her circumstances meet the specific legal prerequisites to filing that are found in the Texas Family Code.
Have any questions? Check out our child custody FAQ.