The process of ending a relationship or marriage is typically multi-faceted. When a couple has a child, however, the most critical element of the process is developing a custody arrangement that will promote the child’s health and well-being. While parental rights and obligations are clearly defined under Texas law, each case must be individually assessed to determine the needs of the child and each parent’s ability to meet those needs. If you are involved in a dispute over the custody of your child, or if you need to modify a custody arrangement, it is essential to retain a knowledgeable family law attorney who will aggressively advocate on your behalf. J. Michael Clay is a San Antonio child custody lawyer with the experience and skills needed to help you seek a custody arrangement that is beneficial to your child.Custody Agreements
In cases in which the co-parents of a child have an amicable relationship, they may be able to agree on a custody arrangement. The Texas family law courts promote the development of agreements that allow each parent to enjoy custody of a child, but they will accept other custody arrangements as long as an arrangement is in the best interest of the child. In many cases, however, the parents cannot come to an agreement and will seek court intervention to determine custody.Factors Considered in Awarding Custody
Under Texas law, the sole consideration in developing a child custody arrangement is what is in the best interest of the child. There are several factors considered in deciding the best custody arrangement for a child, including the health of each parent and the child, and which parent historically was the primary caregiver for the child. The gender of either parent is not a factor that should be considered. In most cases in which there is no evidence of neglect or abuse, the courts will allow both parents to retain custody of a child. In Texas, what is typically known as custody is comprised of two parts: conservatorship, or legal custody, and possession, or the right to visitation. Custody issues can be complicated, and it is important to consult an experienced child custody attorney in the San Antonio area to understand each aspect of custody under Texas law.Conservatorship
Conservatorship, or legal custody, is the right to make any and all decisions of a legal nature that affect a child, such as where the child lives and attends school, whether the child will observe any religious practices, and which medical providers will treat the child. Conservatorships can be joint or sole. In most cases, a court will find a joint managing conservatorship to be in a child’s best interest. Joint managing conservatorships grant parents what is typically known as joint legal custody and allow each parent to make decisions regarding a child’s health, education, and religion, or any other legal decisions that will affect the child. In a sole conservatorship, one parent will have the right to make any legal decisions that will affect the child without consulting their co-parent.
In many cases involving joint conservatorships, the court will deem one parent the primary joint managing conservator. The primary joint managing conservator, often known as the custodial parent, determines the child’s primary residence and the geographic area in which the child will reside. In some cases, the child will reside mainly with the primary joint managing conservator. The non-custodial parent, known as the possessory conservator under Texas law, can be granted equal rights to visitation with the child, however. A San Antonio child custody attorney can help you protect your right to visitation if you are a non-custodial parent.Possession and Access
In Texas, possession and access refer to the right to enjoy visitation with a child. The Texas family law code sets forth a standard possession order that provides a schedule that is presumptively in the best interest of a child. The courts have discretion to deviate from the standard possession order, however, as long as any possession order issued is in the best interest of the child. As with conservatorships, courts typically favor a possession order that allows both parents to have visitation rights.Consult an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you are involved in a child custody dispute, it is essential to retain an attorney who is adept at navigating the Texas family law courts to assist you in the delicate process of determining custody. J. Michael Clay is mindful of the emotional complexities presented by a custody dispute and will diligently pursue a custody arrangement that is in your best interest and the best interest of your child. Many of his clients are service members in the U.S. military, and he is sensitive to their specific needs. Mr. Clay’s office is located in San Antonio, and he represents parents in Bexar, Guadalupe, Comal, Atascosa, Wilson, Kendall, Medina, Bandera, and Kerr Counties. To set up a free and confidential consultation with a child custody lawyer in San Antonio, contact us at 210-694-5205 or through our online form.