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Texas family law attorneyMost divorcing couples would probably agree that by the time they began getting divorced, their interpersonal relationship had mostly fallen apart. This loss of respect and compassion can make negotiations about important issues like property division and child custody, which can feel zero-sum to both parties, particularly difficult.

When a relationship is particularly high-conflict and the couple shares children under age 18, the prospect of continuing to co-parent peacefully after the divorce is finalized may be inconceivable to both parties. While many divorced couples prefer to interact as little as possible, some actually need strict boundaries around their interactions for the sake of protecting each other and the children. If you are considering divorce in Texas and this sounds familiar to you, you may want to look into parallel parenting. 

What is Parallel Parenting? 

Even when parents do not get along well, children still benefit from having both parents involved in their lives unless a parent poses a danger of abuse and neglect. And despite their dislike of each other and their longstanding personal disagreements, most parents continue to seek warm relationships with their children after divorce. 

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Lucas Paternity LawyerFor a father going through a divorce or a child custody case, the assumption may be that the mother will have the upper hand when decisions on child custody are being made. While this was certainly true in the past, under current Texas law, both parents have the opportunity to pursue equal child custody. Although no outcome is certain and circumstances change from case to case, it is important for a father to understand his rights in a divorce or child custody case. By working with an experienced fathers’ rights attorney, you can pursue your right to play an active role in your child’s life.

The Importance of Establishing Paternity

If you are not married to your child’s mother and would like to seek partial custody, the first step is to make sure that your paternity is legally acknowledged. If the mother of the child agrees that you are the father, you can both sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form. To establish paternity in cases when a biological relationship is uncertain, you may need to take a paternity test or adjudicate your paternity through the court. Once you establish paternity, you can legally seek the right to shared custody.

Factors in a Texas Child Custody Case

During the divorce process or after the establishment of paternity, you may be able to work together to agree on a joint managing conservatorship. This plan should make decisions on a visitation schedule for both parents, the child’s primary residence, how the parents will share decision-making, and how to modify and enforce the order. This plan is subject to review and approval by the court, which will review it to make sure it meets the best interests of your child.  

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Murphy Family Law AttorneyDuring a divorce with children, much of the negotiations and mediations are focused on the visitation or physical custody of the children as well as the power to make important decisions about the children. In Texas law, these are known as possessory conservatorship and managing conservatorship, respectively. In many cases, the parents can work together to create a parenting plan that meets the children’s needs and addresses possessory conservatorship and managing conservatorship. However, in some cases, parents cannot come to an agreement, and the decisions may be made by court order. It is essential to hire a child custody lawyer experienced in contested custody cases and who knows the factors the court will consider when making its decision.

Factors in a Contested Child Custody Case

Through negotiations or mediation, parents can often create a parenting plan which addresses issues such as the children’s primary residence, a visitation schedule with each parent, how the parents will share decision-making responsibilities, and how the order will be enforced and modified if necessary in the future. The court will approve this agreement if it meets the best interests of the children.

In this contested child custody case, a judge will weigh several factors in determining how managing conservatorship and possessory conservatorship will be divided. Throughout the process, the children’s best interests will be paramount. These factors can include:

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Wylie Family Law AttorneyFor many grandparents, their relationship with their grandkids is the greatest joy of their life. Ideally, visits are enjoyable, and the relationships between all parties are amicable. However, in cases of negligent care or tragic cases of the death of the child’s parents, grandparents may seek custody of their grandchild under Texas law. There are specific scenarios under which a grandparent has legal standing to pursue custody, and it is recommended to consult with a lawyer who can advise you in your case.

Cases When Grandparents Can Petition for Custody in Texas

To provide a stable home life for a child that has been subjected to heartbreak, abuse, or unsafe living conditions, grandparents may pursue being named as their grandchild's managing conservator. This means they would assume responsibility for the child's care and be allowed to make important decisions about their life. For grandparents, these cases are limited by Texas law to one of the following situations:

  • Both parents of the grandchild are deceased.

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shutterstock_1456860602.jpgIf you have been looking into the process of getting a divorce in Texas, but you and your spouse have children together, you may have come across a term known as conservatorship. This word can have different definitions depending on the state in which it is being used. 

For example, a conservatorship in California is not defined in the same way as conservatorships in Texas. In the state of California, a conservatorship is regarded as a dynamic in which one adult is appointed to care for another adult. Conversely, in the eyes of the law in Texas, a conservatorship is synonymous with child custody. 

That said, you will not see the term "child custody" in any legal documents defining the law in Texas. Rather, it will always be referred to as a conservatorship. 

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