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How are child custody cases handled in Texas?

Every state has different laws regarding the custody of children. Child custody laws are put in place in order to protect these young individuals and place them in the best situations for their growth and development. Unfortunately, child custody laws can be somewhat confusing. For this reason, this column will address how child custody cases are handled specifically in Texas.

Like most states, parents in Texas have the ability to seek full or joint custody of their children. There are two basic ways in which a child custody agreement can be obtained -- filing a parenting plan or through court intervention. Before going to court, parents are given the opportunity to work out a custody arrangement that they feel works best for their current situation. For some, this is fairly easy. However, there are those parents who cannot agree on the definition of "best."

If going to court to determine custody becomes necessary, a judge will look at various factors before making a decision. This, of course, requires a lot of outside information from witnesses and, often, therapists who have been assigned to the case. These factors may include:

  • The parent/child relationship
  • Current living arrangements of each parent
  • Accusations of domestic abuse -- if applicable
  • Child's wishes -- if child is older

Regardless of how a child custody case is ultimately resolved, parents in Texas are given the opportunity to fight for the custody arrangements that they feel are best for their circumstances. This can take time. However, with the assistance of legal counsel, parents can gain an understanding of their rights and take the appropriate steps toward achieving parenting plans that not only work for them, but that also keep the best interests of their children front and center.

Source: FindLaw, "Texas Child Custody Laws", Accessed on Sept. 7, 2016

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