One of the major concerns that a parent could have during a family law case is the idea of losing custody of their children. Losing custody means different things to different people, however. When I think about losing custody, many people think about it in terms of parents losing their parental rights to children. This could happen because of many factors or many different types of cases but specifically occurs in Child Protective Services cases with the most regularity, I believe. Even then seeing a parent have their parental rights terminated does not happen frequently.

Another circumstance where I think you as a parent may have some concern over losing custody rights is regarding simply being in a situation where you have less time with your children than you did before the family law case. This is a much more realistic concern for you to have as a parent. It happens with great regularity that the time you have with your children will be diminished after a divorce or child custody case. Even if you are an involved devoted parent the simple truth is that your children now must divide their time between two parents and two different households. As a result, it is common to see your kids lose time with each parent. That’s not a reflection of your skill as a parent but simply a reality based on the limitations of time.

In today’s blog post I would like to discuss the topic of child custody, whether it be in a divorce or child custody case. The term child custody there’s one that is tossed around a lot in our culture and specifically in the world of Texas family law. However, many people don’t know that the term custody doesn’t even come up in the Texas family code even one time. It is a catchall term to refer to a wide range of topics that relate to your children. It has been so widely adopted that even attorneys and judges use the term without thinking twice. 

With all of that said, so much of a child capacity case depends upon the specific circumstances for your family. If after reading today’s blog post, you have questions about how your family’s specific circumstances will interact with the law then I recommend you contact one of the experienced family law attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We can set you up with a free-of-charge consultation in person at one of our two office locations, over the phone, or even via video. The time you take to speak to one of our attorneys could be the difference between stress and having Peace of Mind as you head into an important legal case.

What do you think of when you hear “custody”?

This is an important question to ask at the beginning of today’s blog post. Custody is a word that is used so frequently that it could mean many different things to many different people. Let’s try and figure out what it means before we go any further. It wouldn’t make too much sense to write an entire blog post about something when half of us think the word means one thing and the other half think it means something else. 

Custody is a word that has come to mean a lot of different things all wrapped up in 1 7 letter word. For starters, you need to know that custody is, again, not a word that ends up being found in the Texas family code at all. However, the word conservatorships can be found throughout the Texas family code when referring to the rights and duties of a parent towards their children. Conservatorships are the more legally correct but also more cumbersome word, so I think custody finds favor even with judges and attorneys. Let’s spend some time breaking the term custody down into its parts beginning with conservatorships.

What is a conservatorship? 

When it comes to conservatorships of your children the first thing you need to know is that as a parent you have certain rights and duties when it comes to your children. The duties include the duty to provide your children with shelter, clothing, food, public education as well as basic health care and health insurance. As part of your family law case, either you or your Co-parent will be required to provide your child with health insurance period that could be health insurance provided through one of your employers, purchased on the open market, or even obtained through the state of Texas. Otherwise, give your children clothing and food by the basics when it comes to conservatorships in Texas.

When it comes to rights associated with your kids these are the sort of decision-making capabilities that you exercise on behalf of your children because they are under the age of 18. Medical decision-making, school-related educational decision-making, and a host of other rights are the basis for conservatorships in Texas. Among the most important rights that you would have about your children is the right to determine the primary residence of your kids. This is probably the most highly sought after and debated right of them all. Being able to determine your child’s primary residence means that your children would be able to live with you. Your Co-parent would then have visitation rights to your children.

specifically, things like child support are also included in terms of the right to pay and the right to receive child support. The details on how much child support you will be paying, how much you would receive end the schedule is styled support payments are typically included outside of conservatorships specifically. conservatorships rights and duties can be held independently exclusively or jointly between you and your Co-parent. This is why the vast majority of parents after a family law case are named as joint managing conservators of children.

Visitation and possession

Visitation and possession have to do with the actual time that you get with each of your children. When it comes to a family law case most parents concern themselves, understandably, primarily with the time that they get with each of their children. This is completely understandable. It is normal to be concerned with your ability to spend time with your children consistently Result of the family law case. It is normal to want to conserve as much time with your children as possible to maintain a strong relationship. Losing time with your children is oftentimes equated with losing a case if you know what I mean.

However, as we saw previously a family law case usually involves two parents who want as much time with their children as possible. In a situation like that, it is normal to see good-natured parents like you and your Co-parent I want to do everything possible to ensure that you can spend a significant amount of time with your children. As a result, it is possible that you could end up losing time from a relative standpoint with your children compared to what you normally have. I cannot emphasize enough that this does not mean that you are not a good parent or did something wrong. It is just the nature of a case.

One of the most interesting aspects of a family law case when it comes to possession and visitation is being able to determine a schedule that works well for all parties. Many of you reading this blog post work irregular hours or in jobs where a typical possession schedule will not work for you. In many family law cases, a standard possession order is implemented or something very similar to it. In a standard possession order, the primary conservator will possess the children during the school week while the parent with visitation rights will have access to the children on the first, 3rd, and 5th weekends of each month. 

That is the visitation during the school year. Other times, such as holidays, visitation is much more evenly split. The parent with visitation rights will have the ability to spend long periods With children during the summer whereas the school year does not allow for that kind of possession time. 

Ultimately, however, you and your Co-parent will be able to work together and have an opportunity to negotiate for your possession schedule based on the needs of your child. Just because a coworker or family member has utilized a standard possession order in their divorce or child custody case does not mean that you must do the same. Rather, you will have an opportunity to create a schedule that works better for you and your family based on your specific needs. Depending upon the needs of your child, the needs of your employment, or other factors not listed here you may need to get very creative with the possession schedule that you create for your child. Fortunately, if you and your spouse both work with experienced family law attorneys you can use them to help the two of you create a schedule that works best for everyone.

Losing custody time in a family law case- what does it mean?

Potentially, losing time with your children in a Texas family law case may mean nothing specific period we have mentioned numerous times in today’s blog post that it is the natural course of events for parents to lose time with their children because of a family law case. However, sometimes you may lose time with your children for any number of reasons that are based on specific factors relevant to your family. If you are truly concerned with the potential outcomes associated with losing time or even custody rights to your children, then let’s focus on the last few sections of this blog post to discuss what those factors might be and how to prevent them from occurring in your household.

Family court judges must make decisions regarding your children based on what is in their best interests. The best interest standard is one that is utilized in many states in circumstances regarding children. When it comes to determining the best interests of your children different factors are looked at. Some of these factors include the emotional, physical, and mental health of your children, their current needs in terms of education, as well as specific circumstances regarding your household versus that of your Co-parent. Please are just a handful of the considerations that check-camera court judges would look to when making decisions regarding what is in the best interest of the child.

From there, a family court judge would also look to the specific circumstances of your life. There may be factors in play in your household that are not explicitly laid out in the factors that I just talked to you about. For example, you may have a special needs child at home or you may have a special need of some sort that requires regular intervention. Other times there may be an income issue in your household or in that of your Co-parent. Whatever the circumstance may be the family court judge has given a great degree of discretion in terms of their ability to look through these issues and make best judgment determinations based upon them.

Finally, a family court judge will rely upon their own experience in looking through different custody circumstances. Between the specific circumstances of your family and their own experiences as a judge, the family court judge may seem to rely less upon the law than maybe any other sort of judge. This is not founded observation if it ends up being one that you make. Rather, family court judges are given wide discretion to utilize their own best judgment in making best interest determinations. This is since families like yours are so unique and it is difficult to paint with a very broad brush when it comes to making custody determinations. 

Rather, decisions regarding custody most oftentimes come down to factors related to a few fichus that are relevant to your family. For that reason, it is difficult to be able to make broad pronouncements about what a family court judge is likely or unlikely to do in your case. Rather, it is necessary to look at the specific circumstances of your case to make a judgment one way or the other period from there, you could feel much more confident about what a judge could do in your situation concerning custody.

When it comes to Outright terminating parental rights of a parent towards a child you are talking about extreme situations that do not come up very much. Most people reading this blog post right now will not encounter a situation in their custody or divorce case that involves the termination of parental rights. However, for some people in limited circumstances, it is a relevant factor to consider. Here are some of the circumstances where your parental rights may be terminated about your child. 

Probably the most common situation where parental rights are terminated involves Child Protective Services cases. In a Child Protective Services case, we are already talking about fairly extreme circumstances where another person has made a report of abuse or neglect against your child. In some circumstances, you don’t even have to be the parent or person who was found to have abused or neglected your child. Rather, if you were neglectful in allowing abuse to occur to your child then a family court judge may initially remove your child from your custody and then consider termination proceedings if that is what is recommended by Child Protective Services.

When it comes to termination proceedings these are usually only done after a lengthy CPS investigation coupled with plenty of opportunities for you to remediate your situation and improve your ability to parent your child. It is not as if CPS will immediately terminate your parental rights in a petition to the judge after removal. Rather, the agency will work with you within a safety plan or family-based social services to help you identify areas of your life where improvement may be needed. This could be something as simple as a repairing issue in your home or having someone move out of your house who poses a risk to your child. However, when you find yourself in a position where the relationship you have with your child is at risk there is no sense in taking a risk. Beyond anything else, having an experienced family law attorney to help guide you during this case can mean the difference between having a legal relationship with your child and having none at all.

Questions about the material 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 post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations 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 as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of divorce for a child custody case