• Family Law
    in the state of Texas
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There are many aspects to child custody.

Going through the process of determining child custody, whether due to divorce, adoption, or transfer of conservatorship, can be a complex and difficult situation. However, having a good understanding of how the process works can reduce stress and help everything flow as smoothly as possible. Many aspects of these types of cases are state-specific, so here are some important steps to determining child custody in Texas.

Before pursuing a child custody solution, it's important to understand the different possible outcomes. According to Texas law, the default custody arrangement is joint managing conservatorship. This essentially means both parents have equal, independent rights and responsibilities to the child. Sole managing conservatorship gives only one parent the majority of rights and responsibilities and is usually the result in cases with problematic parenting issues.

Primary Residence

Even in a joint managing conservatorship outcome, the child will have a primary residence with one parent. Per Fort Worth family law guidelines, primary residence decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Generally, a child will live with the primary caregiver by default, unless extenuating circumstances indicate a better alternative. A child over the age of 11 can choose his or her primary residence.

Home Evaluation

In some family law cases, a judge may order a home study to be completed while determining custody arrangements. The study is meant to get an overview of the child's circumstances, including an evaluation of both parents and associated parties. The evaluator is a licensed therapist who uses written questionnaires and personal interviews to gather and analyze data on a child's circumstances.

Child Support

Child support is another potentially complex aspect of child custody cases. Judges award child support amounts based on a strict formula set forth in the Texas Family Code. A parent who refuses to pay child support is subject to legal actions, such as wage garnishment, suspension of driver's license, fines, or even imprisonment. Talk to your family law attorney to help you get through all aspects of a child custody case.