Custody cases in Houston can be complicated, especially when either party disagrees with the proposed arrangement. These disputes seem never-ending and can be highly stressful. At Daniel Ogbeide Law (Child Custody Attorney In Houston Texas), we help you avoid severe conflicts and reach a mutually beneficial agreement for your child’s best interest.
Family law involves a multitude of areas, one of which is child custody, child support, and visitation. Parents sometimes utilize the services of a consultant, generally a social worker or a Houston family law attorney, to assist the ongoing conflicts. The primary objective is to settle out of court to keep costs and concerns low. However, if the need arises, the attorney can prepare families to fight for the child’s best interest and help all members go through the rough patch with absolute ease.
When you started your relationship or got married, you had a dream to grow your family together. You lived together, faced life’s challenges, and might even have wonderful kids together. You might share a beautiful bond with your child. But with time, the marriage might be ruined, and you think it’s time to separate. You could have already initiated the process, and during this, your number one concern would be your child.
In many cases, separating couples are often required to go through mediation before the court announces the final decision. Our legal system recognizes that it’s in the child’s best interest to allow parents to decide the custody and visitation arrangements. After all, parents know the best for their child versus a judge. But there can be instances where mediation wouldn’t be helpful. Hence, a judge or a jury decides on the following aspects to device how the custody matters unfold:
If you aren’t able to find a middle ground during mediation, the case goes before a judge, which can be stressful and time-consuming but necessary.
The process is highly specific and varies from one state to another. In addition, it’s a deeply emotional topic, and a Houston attorney can help you with an appropriate custody arrangement.
Usually, the judge studies the case thoroughly to weigh the pros and cons and render the decision that’s best for the child. Parents’ marital status, gender, religion, or race aren’t considered. Judges exercise discretion when making custody orders, ensuring the child remains in frequent contact with both parents.
Factors like emotional and physical needs and dangers, home stability, parenting skills, cooperation between parents, and who may be the primary caregiver impact the custody battle. Judges also consider the child’s preferences if they’re old and wise enough to make such choices. However, the actual procedure would vary based on the type of custody you apply for.
Also, ensure you’re ready to invest time, money, and energy during the case. Usually, uncontested cases conclude within a few months. However, contested custody matters can keep stretching indefinitely.
Generally, if it’s in the child’s best interest to let the mother have primary custody, it would be decided so. However, there can be situations where mothers might lose custody rights to fathers.
Today, over 2 million kids in America have no contact with their mothers due to inappropriate custody arrangements. It happens when mothers do not understand their rights and give up custody due to a lack of support and proper defense.
For this reason, if you wish for a fair decision, ensure you’re hiring a family law attorney specializing in child custody cases. Texas courts follow different regulations for married mothers and unmarried ones.
Mothers are highly likely to get custody of children, especially if they’re unmarried. Unmarried fathers in Houston, Texas, have zero paternal rights and the mother individually decides the visitation schedule, if any. However, unmarried fathers can claim custody upon establishing paternity.
The rules for married mothers are a little more complicated. Usually, the law dictates couples share joint custody. Therefore, as joint custodians, both parents would have equal rights, and neither one could make decisions for the kids without the consent of the other. A divorce cannot deprive the father of his rights, particularly when he’s fit and willing to care for the child’s needs and thinks for the best of the child.
Whatever the case, it is essential to talk to your attorney and learn about your rights for the most desirable outcome. Texas courts don’t favor mothers over fathers, and both have equal rights over childcare.
Understanding the father’s rights (both biological and adoptive) in Houston can be complicated. For this reason, fathers often feel stacked against the odds regarding child custody matters. They have to fight aggressively to prove they’re willing and capable of taking care of the child’s needs.
If you think you have no chance of winning the case, that’s untrue. It is a common misconception that Texas courts always favor mothers in custody matters.
Sure, it may be a tough battle ahead. You could have so many questions in mind. However, in the eyes of the law, you’re afforded the same rights as mothers. You can improve the chances of ruling the outcome in your favor, especially when you have a knowledgeable attorney by your side. They will make sure your rights are upheld. But make sure your child’s best interests are always at the center.
Remember, joint custody will always be a preference. If that isn’t the case, the judge will decide the primary custodian, and if everything remains in your favor, you can have full custody. However, the non-custodial parent would still have visitation rights defined in the SPO (standard possession order).
Even if the mother gets physical custody, you can still file for legal custody and retain the rights to help make major decisions on the child’s behalf. Besides, you can refile for physical custody or have the parental plan re-evaluated, primarily if the mother purposely practices parental alienation.
Earlier, being a father meant you were automatically at a disadvantage. That’s not the case anymore. So it’s important to know and protect your rights.
Let us quickly walk you through the various arrangements of child custody so you can establish your requests accordingly:
Physical Custody: It deals with the day-to-day care of the child. The child resides with you and depends on you for any short-term decision-making impacting their everyday experiences.
Legal Custody: It concerns the critical legal aspects of custody, including education, religious beliefs, and healthcare. Legal custody allows long-term authority over the upbringing of the child.
The degree of participation involves:
Joint Custody: A Joint Managing Conservatorship (JMC) awards both parents equal custody rights. It’s a common arrangement in Texas, and judges outline what each parent will be responsible for. The judge will also lay out the standard possession order (SPO) defining the visitation schedule.
Sole Custody: Sole Managing Conservatorship or SMC gives either parent the legal right to make decisions for the child. This arrangement comes into the scenario when one parent is unfit or unwilling to share custody.
Visitation is the total time the non-custodial partner can spend with the child when they don’t have physical custody. Both parents can agree on a mutually drafted vitiation plan, or a judge can create one keeping the child’s best interest in mind. Special occasions, birthdays, extracurricular activities, pick and drop, and modification instructions, everything will be addressed in the visitation schedule. This maintains utmost clarity on the rights and duties of both parents while keeping conflicts at bay. If you’re unsatisfied with the custody arrangement, visitation right is an area you’d probably want to explore further. Hire a competent attorney to assert your rights and navigate the process with absolute ease.
Creating your child’s visitation schedule can be frustrating. But you must remember that it’s ultimately in your child’s best interest and can ease your responsibilities. In case you aren’t able to reach a mutual agreement, the court orders the schedule, which might usually look like one of the following:
Fixed Visitation: The court decides which days and when the parent can exercise their visitation rights. These are set, and opposing them can result in severe consequences.
Reasonable Visitation: When the couple prioritizes their child’s well-being over personal conflicts, they can resort to a reasonable visitation schedule. It allows both parents to raise their kids equally.
Supervised Visitation: If there is any risk to the child’s safety, the court might order a supervised visitation schedule. For example, if the non-custodial parent has developed violent behavior or a pattern of substance use, the judge would order third-party supervision until it’s no longer necessary.
No Visitation: No visitation may be ordered when evidence proves that the visitation can do more harm than good. Such a denial usually results due to any previous instances of abuse or irresponsible behavior.
Child support is the monthly payout provided by the non-custodial parent (or the one earning more) after the dissolution of the relationship or marriage. The non-custodial parent may be responsible for financially meeting the child’s needs. How both parents earn, the time the child spends with each parent, the support needed, and the number of kids often determine the amount of support. Generally, the support amount is a percentage of the monthly net resources (gross salary, pension, retirement funds, etc.) of the non-custodial parent and depends upon the number of kids they support.
Once the child turns 18, the support ends. Support for an adult disabled child might extend to meet the extra care and needs. You can also seek a modification in child support plans if the circumstances change. But not paying child support can result in legal consequences such as losing the driver’s license, denial of a new passport, hefty fines, or other worst-case scenarios. If you need help with child support matters, contact a Houston family law attorney to take the stress out of these difficult times.
You might wonder if grandparents have the same rights as parents. To your surprise, grandparents can qualify for custody and visitation rights. The visitation rights may be limited, and there aren’t any inherent rights, such as having full custody of the child. If there’s some level of bonding between the grandchild and grandparent, it nurtures their relationship, and the child (above 14 years of age) wishes for the same, grandparents can qualify for visitation. If grandparents are denied visiting their grandkids, taking legal action is the only recourse.
Every custody arrangement is different depending on individual circumstances. However, precisely defining the agreement reduces the chances of future conflicts and keeps everyone out of court. But if circumstances aren’t working right, it is possible to change the existing order. Issues related to domestic violence, substance abuse, breakdown in communication, kids having their preferences, and relocation are some of the changes that judges would consider to modify the arrangement.
If both parents appeal to court with evidence demonstrating the changes in their lives since the last order, the judge can grant modifications. However, it is best to contact a Child Custody Attorney In Houston, Texas to help with the legal and correct modification in your parental custody agreement.
When your child’s rights and future are on the line, hiring an experienced, compassionate, and qualified family law attorney is important. You’d want to make the best decision for your child, and only a capable attorney can get you the results you desire.
Even if you think you know how custody matters work, it is best to have a strong legal team by your side to navigate the complex judicial system. They can represent you during the divorce and when you attempt to get custody of your child.
But look for the following qualities in your potential family law attorney to help you with all aspects of child custody, child support, and visitation:
Hiring a Houston child custody attorney is an important decision. It will impact your future significantly. This is why it’s crucial to make sure your attorney is fit for your unique circumstances.
No matter what you wish for the case and your child, the law will always require you to prioritize all decisions based on your child’s best interests. Therefore, partnering with a qualified child custody attorney from Daniel Ogbeide Law may be your best bet. We understand the complications involved in these matters and can help you navigate the complex arrangement of the law to make the right choices for a successful outcome.