Over the years, there have been several House Bills and pieces of legislation introduced in Texas to change divorce and custody agreements. Fathers in the Lone Star State have long been rallying in support of new laws to be passed that would change the long-believed presumption that custody of children in divorce cases should always go to the mother by default.
Father’s rights groups are advocating for laws that would create a presumption of equality between both parents in spending parenting time with their children after they separate. Because fathers fight to split time and custody equally, this type of legislation would help advocate for fathers.
The C.E. Borman team in Bryan, Texas believes that fathers have just as much of a right to be actively involved in their children’s lives, and we use our years of experience to fight for the best solution for families.
How Divorce Works in Texas Family Courts
In a Texas divorce, child custody is referred to as a “conservatorship.” A conservatorship is used to describe the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent. Texas courts name a child’s custodian parent as a “conservator.” The most important concern for the court in deciding on a conservatorship plan is what is in the best interest of the child.
Texas Child Custody
A family law judge will decide the terms of a “conservatorship” unless both parents reach a custody agreement prior to arriving in court. In that case, the court would just need to approve it.
Texas law presumes that parents should be “joint managing conservators”, which means that decision-making responsibilities are shared between both parents. However, time may not be shared equally between parents, so legislation that advocates for 50/50 custody could help bridge this gap.
Texas Child Conservatorships
In a joint managing conservatorship (JMC) both parties share the rights and duties of a parent. Even in this situation, the exclusive right to make certain decisions may be awarded to one parent only. Remember, the court uses the legal standard of “what is in the best interests of the child. The challenge of a JMC is that when a judge makes both parents JMCs it may not mean that both parents are going to have equal possession. Custody and visitation are decided in a separate visitation schedule known as a standard possession order (SPO). When both parents are made conservators, the judge will specify the responsibilities each parent has separately and jointly.
Sole managing conservatorship (SMC) means the court grants only one parent the legal right to make certain decisions concerning the child. There are several reasons why a court could grant one parent an SMC. Perhaps one parent doesn’t want joint managing conservatorship (custody) responsibilities.
Child Support and Visitation Schedule
The judge will create a visitation schedule, called a standard possession order, using certain guidelines. Visitation is called possession of and access to a child. A parent can get possession and access unless the judge determines it is not in the best interests of the child. This means it would endanger the physical or emotional well-being of the child. Parents can either agree on a visitation schedule or the judge will order what they think is in the child’s best interest. When a judge makes a decision, it almost always includes child support to be paid by the non-custodial parent.
Texas child support laws can sometimes get complicated, and as a father, you may have questions about divorce and custody agreements. It is a smart decision to consult an experienced Texas family law attorney if you have questions about your situation.
Get Legal Help With Child Custody Agreements in Bryan, Texas
Our attorneys at C.E. Borman & Associates can help you make important decisions about child custody and negotiate a fair settlement. If you have additional questions about your rights as a father or custody agreements, contact us. We are here to help.