If you're struggling with a child custody issue, you absolutely need to know all you can about the laws regarding this subject. Texas Family Code 153 can explain what happens in each situation, but it can be difficult to understand how your case might proceed. Arm yourself with knowledge (and a good lawyer) in order to best prepare for your case.
In Texas, parents or guardians are referred to as "conservators." The court can either decide to grant sole managing conservatorship (when one conservator gets full custody of the child) or joint managing conservatorship (when two parents are granted custody). You are probably already familiar with the terms sole custody or joint custody, but you may need a second opinion on what type is best for you or how each will affect your life.
What can affect conservatorship? The court will look at all issues in a way that serves the best interests of the child. If the child is over the age of 12, the court might use a testimony from the child's perspective. A history of domestic abuse is a weighty subject when determining conservatorship. If you have concerns with domestic abuse, get someone to explain how this can affect both your child and your rights.
Paternity can sometimes pose some unexpected issues with child custody. Although both mother and fathers should have the right to become part of their offspring's childhood, it can be especially difficult for men to be granted custody or even access to their children. The law and the court usually lean towards the idea that the mother should be the main parent to the child in custody cases. This is not always the right decision, and it is certainly not fair to a good father. In order for a father to gain any sort of conservatorship, the paternity of the child needs to be established. An Acknowledgment of Paternity is one way to do this, as is a DNA test.
Unmarried parents can also face problems with child custody. The child will have to evaluate the relationship and what kind of custody is the best fit for the situation. It's up to the courts to decide what is in the best interests of the child. Just because you have not stayed with your partner does not mean that you should not have access to your child. Being unmarried and fighting for custody can be very hard, but it's important that you fight for custody or access to your child, especially if you suspect that his or her wellbeing is at risk.
Some frequently asked questions about child custody include things like "Can I still have contact with my child if my parental rights are terminated?" Egypt "Who pays for a paternity test if I need one for my child support case?" Do not be embarrassed to ask questions like these. Chances are, if you're wondering about then a lawyer or other child specialist specialist has probably been asked that same question before. You can consult online sources, but most of the time a professional is your best bet for answers that are guaranteed to be correct.
You might be wondering about the answers to those two example questions. Yes, you can still have contact with the child if you request access to or possession of your child before the order of terminations comes down. If this happens the court might grant you periods of possession or access as long as it deems that the child would suffer an impairment of physical health of emotional wellbeing if you are not allowed that possession or access.
So where can you find answers to these child custody questions you might have? How did we find the answers to those two sample questions? Texas Family Code 153 explains what happens in cases of child custody. It does a thorough job of detailing each situation situation and how it should be handled. However, the language here can be very weak and difficult to understand. If you need help understanding exactly how Texas Family Code 153 relates to your case, consult a professional.
If you have more questions on child custody in Texas, you should certainly contact a reputable lawyer. A lawyer, especially one schooled in family law, can help you make sense of all the different rules and exceptions.