You’ll likely have numerous questions when heading into a custody battle. Hiring a child custody lawyer who will listen to your concerns and respond to your queries should be one of your primary goals when you wish to win custody of your child. Many of your questions will also be answered below to help you head into this process with as much knowledge as possible.
Ask a Child Custody Lawyer: 7 Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Are the Types of Custody You Can Get in Texas?
There are two types of custody you can fight for in Texas: conservatorship and possession and access. Conservatorship relates to the right to make decisions regarding your child. These decisions may be about factors such as schooling, medical treatment, and similar. Possession and access refer to physical custody and visitation rights. Your Houston child custody lawyer can explain these to you in more detail if needed.
There are many different ways both types of custody can be decided. Both parents may be awarded joint managing conservatorship along with joint physical custody. However, one parent may be awarded sole managing conservatorship and physical custody while the other parent is awarded neither. In some cases, the parents may have joint physical custody but only one parent has sole managing conservatorship.
2. Does a Parent Without Physical Custody Always Get Visitation Rights?
Most judges rule that it’s within the child’s best interests to have physical access to both of their parents. Therefore, most parents without physical custody are granted visitation.
However, if the judge deems it would be unsafe for the child to visit one of their parents, then visitation may not be awarded. This, however, is rare. In some cases, supervised visitation may be awarded to a parent without physical custody.
3. Do You Always Need to Hire an Attorney for a Child Custody Case?
You should always hire an attorney when you’re heading into a custody battle. You’re more likely to achieve your goals if you have an attorney representing you. Your lawyer will know the ins and outs of custody laws in Texas. Plus, they can help you set realistic goals. You need to have the most knowledgeable attorney possible so they can help you argue your case and win the right to access your child.
4. Does the Judge Take Your Child’s Wishes Into Account?
The judge may listen to your child and take their wishes into account when determining custody. However, the final decision is up to the judge to make. Ideally, the judge will do their best to make everybody happy if at all possible. Although, the child’s best interests will take precedence, even if the child’s best interests don’t line up with the child’s wishes.
5. Do New Partners Influence the Judge’s Decision?
If one parent is living with a new partner, then this may factor into the decision. If it’s deemed that it’s not in the child’s best interests to live with the new partner, then this can play a role in the decision-making. Outside of this, it typically doesn’t matter whether or not one or both parents are in new relationships.
Of course, everyone’s situation is different, so speak to your attorney about whether or not they feel your relationship status might influence the outcome of the custody battle.
6. Can You Modify Custody Decisions?
You can have your child custody ruling modified if circumstances change. You may also appeal the judge’s decision if you feel it’s unfair or if you’re unhappy with it. The judge may not always listen to an appeal, as the child’s best interests are more important to them than the wishes of an unhappy parent.
If you wish to modify or appeal the judge’s decision, then speak to your custody lawyer about how to do this, and they’ll talk you through the process. They’ll also help you build a case to help you win your appeal. If you have new evidence to support your appeal, then the judge may be more likely to change their decision.
7. Do Grandparents Have Child Custody Rights?
In rare cases where it would be unsafe for the children to live with their parents, grandparents may seek custody instead. There are other cases where grandparents can seek rights such as visitation. For example, if Parent A has no custodial or visitation access to their child, then the grandparents on Parent A’s side can seek visitation rights for themselves. This matter can also be settled as a personal matter outside of the court.
Child custody cases are highly varied, but the questions and answers detailed above apply to the majority of cases. As always, speaking to your custody lawyer is always the best choice if you have a question during the custody battle. They understand your case well enough to provide you with an informed answer that’s specific to you.