In a divorce or child custody case, two scenarios typically caused the most angst for mothers and fathers. The first is a contested situation regarding custody. The second is a situation where the other parent has wrongly denied a parent custody opportunity. In that case, both parents have an opportunity to go back and forth with one another and argue over important matters such as time with the children and opportunities to grow in their relationship together. In both scenarios, emotions can run high, and it can be difficult to understand just how parents and children can find themselves facing such difficult circumstances.
If you find yourself in a situation where you and your Co-parents are trying to position yourselves to become the parent with whom your children reside primarily, that means you have a contested custody circumstance on your hands. This is not the end of the world or something to lose sleepover. In reality, it simply means that you and your Co-parent are both well positioned, at least in theory, to be able to take on the important responsibility of caring for your children daily. You would want to stress if neither you nor your Co-parent wanted the responsibility of caring for your children. Otherwise, you are just in a situation where you have two people who love their children and believe they have the skills, experience, and parenting ability to best care for their kids.
In that case, you should consider just how critical it is to understand the Inns and outs of your particular child custody circumstance. There is no doubt that a person who has a working knowledge of their case and how their particular circumstances factor into the ultimate determination will have better outcomes more frequently. As I am fond of saying regarding family law cases, you can wander into a family law case, but it is difficult to wander out of one and expect favorable results. Rather, you have to be able to understand as much about your case as possible.
That is easy for me to say. However, the reality of the situation is that you are the one who needs to be able to learn this information. How can we get to a point where clients understand what they need to in a family law case? Does that involve you spending a lot of time doing online research or going to some law library downtown to learn the Texas family code? Do you need to disregard work obligations and the precious time you have with your family to get up to speed on what matters in your case?
The answer to those questions is no. You will learn quickly in your case that just because you have a divorce or child custody case that is ongoing, the rest of your life does not come to a halt. Your work obligations will still be there. Any social obligations will still be there. You will have days where you get sick or distracted, or otherwise unmotivated to do some of the more mundane and unpleasant things in your daily life. Of course, your obligation to spend time with your children does not end simply because you have a child custody or divorce case working through its progression.
I think this is one of the things that people find to be the most surprising about a family law case. Even though in your mind it is the only thing that matters and one of the only things you are thinking about regularly, the reality is that the world will continue to spin on its axis just the same despite the importance of your family log case. To that end, just because you have an ongoing case does not mean that you can pour 100% of your life into the case itself. Not only would that cause you to devote a great many hours two a matter that you do not directly control in many regards, but it would take away from areas of your life that need your supervision and intervention regardless of the status of your case.
So, if you can’t always seek out the information you need regarding your child custody case or divorce, where are you supposed to obtain all of this crucial information to act as competently and diligently as possible regarding the case itself? To that end, it would be your attorney who would step in and provide that information for you and your case. Your attorney should have the heart of a teacher and should be someone who takes pride in advocating for you and teaching you the finer points of the law and how those points interact with your case specifically.
There are many qualities that you should look to when it comes to hiring an attorney. Toughness, tenacity, a willingness to go above and beyond for a client, and a host of other types of qualities are all crucial 2 being a good attorney. However, it is also important for your attorney to teach you what you need to know about your case. Some attorneys simply don’t have the willingness to take the time to teach. Other attorneys can’t do so. However, the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan pride themselves on stepping into this role both as advocates and teachers on behalf of our clients. Your attorney needs to be able to wear both of these hats equally well.
At the end of the day, in your case, you do not want to be in a position where your attorney ends up making decisions for you or putting you in a position where you are making decisions without proper instruction or context. This well serves nobody. Instead, you want to be in a position where you can make educated decisions for yourself and your family within the context of a case. Only when your attorney takes the time to teach can you say honestly that you are prepared to do so. Otherwise, you are asking for trouble.
If, after reading all this, you would like to be represented by the types of attorneys that take the time to educate you on the matters most important to your case and our experienced intonations inside the courtroom and at the negotiating table, then look no further than the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.
Speaking with one of our experienced family law attorneys regarding your circumstances in a contested child custody matter could be the difference between you perceiving a bad result and one that suits you and your family very well. If you ask yourself basic questions like what deems a parent non-custodial, then our attorneys are a great resource to find out more about that question. However, I can begin to provide you with that information in this blog post. Still, I would certainly recommend that you follow up For more information about how this topic can impact you and your family, specifically in one of these free-of-charge consultations.
What is a custodial parent in a Texas child custody or divorce case?
The discussion of what deems a noncustodial parent must first be prefaced by telling you what a custodial parent is. Custodial refers to a person who has custody over another person. Normally we hear about this term in the context of two types of situations. The less common situation, and the one we will not be discussing today, is one where an adult has custody over another adult. You see this in situations where an adult cannot care for him or herself, and a court awards conservatorship over that person to another adult. In that circumstance, an adult would be the custodial parent to their adult child.
The much more common occurrence, and the one we will be discussing today, is in the context of a family law matter. Texas family law defines a custodial parent as one who has the primary right 2 care for a child, provide for their needs and maintain the child’s welfare during the year. A custodial parent is defined most importantly by having the right to determine the child’s primary residence. A custodial parent lives with their child for much of the year. Certainly, during the school year, the largest portion of the year that your child would live with you as a custodial parent.
Why is being named the custodial parent to a child in a Texas family law case so desirable and important? The first aspect that jumps off the page to me is that the custodial parent can simply spend more time with their child than the noncustodial parent. A custodial parent can put their child to bed each night and wake up with them more frequently than the noncustodial parent. In a family law case where time with children is at a premium, this is an important designation and one of the most important reasons parents fight tooth and nail often to be named the custodial parent to a child.
Another important reason why being the custodial parent to a child is important is because custodial parents typically hold superior rights about a noncustodial parent and their child. The custodial parent has their child more than a noncustodial parent. Therefore, this parent typically has independent or even sole decision making regarding certain areas of their Child’s life, specifically regarding educational, health, and psychiatric matters. Under joint managing conservatorship, parents typically share fairly evenly rights and duties about the child. You should expect this to be the same in your case, but oftentimes, the custodial parent has slight advantages and rights depending on the circumstances.
Another important attribute to note is that a custodial parent typically receives child support payments from a noncustodial parent. Child support is paid in Texas family law scenarios where a child splits time between two different households. Because a noncustodial parent does not spend as much time with a child as a custodial parent, child support is intended to bridge the gap and even the costs between the two parents. If you are responsible for paying child support, then you are most likely the noncustodial parent. One of the major motivations for becoming a custodial parent is to receive child support in many cases.
As you can see, the noncustodial parent still retains rights and duties to a child and the ability to spend time with their child but is at a disadvantage in almost all of these areas compared to the custodial parent. If you are in the process of preparing for a family law case in Texas and anticipate that you may be named as the noncustodial parent, then you are in a position where you have some things to think about. Notably, you need to decide whether or not you are positioned within your case to be named a custodial parent or primary caretaker of your child.
Could you be named as your child’s custodial parent?
This is the $1,000,000 question that parents asked themselves in Texas every day. If you were two become involved in a Texas family law case, would you be able to petition the court to be named as your child’s custodial parent and have the ability to win on that petition? It is one thing to ask a court to be named as the primary caregiver to your child. It is another matter altogether to have that motion or petition granted by a judge.
To answer this question, you would need to examine the specific circumstances of your case. Bear in mind that facts are significant in Texas family law cases, and the circumstances that develop out of those facts are even more important. While the Texas family code matters in a family law case, it isn’t as if a judge will look to a rulebook to decide what is in their child’s best interest. Rather, a court would look to your specific circumstances when determining who should be named as a primary caregiver of your child.
For instance, if you have been the primary caregiver for your child over a long period, then you are situated well to be named as your child’s custodial parent. Being a custodial parent is not all it’s cracked up to be in terms of only spending more time with your child and receiving benefits from the position. You still have the massive responsibility of being the daily caretaker for your child and shouldering most of the cost burdens associated with that responsibility. If this is a role you are used to filling for your child, then being named as your child custodial parent is fairly likely.
The problem that many parents run into when they would like to be named a child’s primary caregiver is that this is not a role they have filled for their child. Notably, if you are the parent who works to earn a living for your family, then you may find yourself outside of the home more than your Co-parent and in less of a position to be able to jump into the nitty-gritty details of child care. This does not mean that you are a bad person or a bad parent. It simply means that your role in your child’s life has not been that of primary caretaker.
Because of this, a family court judge is not likely to rock the boat and place you in a position that you are accustomed to. Of course, you and your Co-parent will be able to negotiate your way through these issues before getting to court. Bear in mind, however, that your Co-parent will likely understand that a judge may not appoint you coherent and will negotiate with you bearing this in mind.
Questions about the materials contained in today’s blog post contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog posts, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.