San Antonio Child Custody Attorneys
Custody Issues Involving Military, Relocation, & Parental Rights
In Texas, the Courts presume that it’s in a child’s best interest for both parents to share joint conservatorship of the child. This means the parents share most rights, duties, and choices regarding the child, but one parent has the right of primary to determine where the child lives and goes to school. The other parent has visitation times and is often ordered to pay child support.
If you and your co-parent are dealing with a custody issue, it is advised you both seek legal counsel to resolve the matter. At Calfas Law Group we have assisted numerous Texas families, as we understand that the time after divorce is difficult, particularly when it affects the children.
We can help you navigate these support issues and arrive at a determination that serves everyone's interest. Whether you are approaching this process for the first time or need to resolve a dispute or petition for a post-decree modification, our knowledgeable San Antonio child support lawyers are ready to help with this and any family law matter that arises.
Determining Custody in Texas
Under the Texas Family Code, the courts will consider parenting history and experiences of the parents involving the child(ren) in that case. This includes where the child physically lived most of the time and which parent made most of the classic questions of parenting, including but not limited to: educational decisions, medical care, who spends time caring for and nurturing the children.
Other factors that will be considered include:
- The age of the children
- The current health needs of the children
- The location of the proposed residence to the child's school
- The child's relationship/access to other family members
- The child's preference (if they are old enough)
- Any special needs the child has
Similarly to child support modifications, a parent can petition the court to modify or change the current order but only when they have shown the court that material and significant changes in the circumstances of the parties have changed, AND the changes are in the best interest of the child.
Can Child Custody be Modified in TX?
Texas law states that either parent may seek to file a petition of child custody modification at any time. Unless the child has relocated, the petition must be filed in the court that granted the divorce. If the child has relocated, then the case may need to be transferred to the county of the new city.
The complexity and duration of the modification will largely depend on the cooperation and agreement between both parents. Ideally, both parents will agree, and the court will just need to review the proposed custody order. If there is not an agreement, then there will need to be a date set before a judge to make the modifications. By law, if any parent wishes to modify an existing order, he or she will need to prove the following:
- The child is 12 years old and wishes to change the primary caregiver; or
- A change in circumstances that is material and substantial; and
- The changes to the order will be for the best interests of the child
How Do You Prove a Parent Is Unfit in Texas?
Texas courts carefully evaluate each child custody case with personalized attention. As their goal is to protect the child’s best interest, the judge will consider the effect their ruling could have on the child’s emotional and physical health, as well as their development. Only significant proof of negligence will influence a judge’s custody decision.
Such negligent acts could include:
- A history of drug or alcohol abuse
- Domestic abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual assault
- Unfit living conditions
These allegations must be backed by significant evidence that proves the parent is unable to protect the child’s health, safety, and best interest.
Compelling evidence could include:
- Police reports
- Text messages
- Witness statements
An investigation may also be conducted to determine the parent’s ability to care for their kid.
If a judge does find that a parent is unfit, there are actions that they could take to prove they’ve matured. After all, Texas typically assumes that a child will benefit most from having both parents present in their lives. If a parent is able to attend a rehabilitation program, obtain a stable job, or take other steps to improve their circumstances, they may be able to earn more visitation or custody rights.
Help Through the Relocation Process
Relocating a child often comes up when the child’s parents are military or because of other economic factors. Depending on the circumstances and the age of the child, the court handles these cases with the most care. Relocating a child means removing him or her from her friends, family and support structure.
You need experienced child advocates who understand the issues that the court will consider and most importantly, your child’s needs in this difficult process.
Ready to start discussing your child custody matter? We're ready to hear your family's story. Contact us today to request an initial consultation.