Houston Child Custody Lawyer
As important as it will be for parents to protect the best interests of their children, the process of divorce and other problematic family legal matters can make it difficult for parents to actually agree about what that means. When agreement is not possible, parents typically need to use the courts to decide who will get custody of their children, along with the right to make important decisions about their lives. Parents may find that the battle over custody of their children is one of the most difficult fights during a divorce. The danger of losing custody of your children is real, and the proceedings should never be taken lightly. How can you be completely certain your children’s best interests are protected if you only get to see them every other weekend?
Bearing all of this in mind, if you will be contesting the custody of your children, you will need to do everything you can to fight for it. The Houston child custody attorneys of Holmes, Diggs & Sadler are dedicated to fighting for the rights and interests of our clients as they work through the complicated and emotionally-charged legal issues that are related to child custody, including child support and visitation rights. Contact our offices at (713) 802-1777 to discuss your situation with a lawyer who is prepared to take on the unique challenges of your case.
Types of Custody
The way a child custody case may play out will depend on your unique circumstances. This is why the Houston child custody lawyers of Holmes, Diggs & Sadler work to tailor unique strategies that take advantage of the specific realities of our clients’ cases. However, the end result of a child custody contest will typically end with one of these general outcomes:
- Joint Custody – Generally, the court will try to appoint joint custody to both parents, who will both have some degree of access to the child. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you and your spouse will have to share physical custody, but it could mean that they may have a say in certain decisions on behalf of the child.
- Sole Custody – There are a number of reasons the court may grant sole conservatorship to a parent, who will then have final say in decisions regarding the child. These reasons can include the other parent’s absenteeism, violent behavior, and history of drug abuse.
If a proceeding doesn’t go your way, it is possible to appeal a court’s decision. In some cases, it’s possible to regain custody or visitation rights to children after demonstrating to the court that you have made adjustments to your life.
Our Child Custody Practice Areas
There are a variety of legal issues associated with child custody. Our knowledgeable, qualified Houston child custody attorneys are well-versed in these types of cases, including those that are associated with the following:
- Enforcement actions
- Supervised visitation
- Paternity cases
- Child support
- Grandparents’ rights
- The Hague Convention
- International kidnapping
- Telephone access to children
- Internet access to children
- Temporary restraining orders
- Interstate property and custody
- Habeas corpus
- Enforcement of visitation
- Enforcement of child support
- Modifications of custody
- Modification of child support
- Modification of visitation
- Parental kidnapping
Because the team at Holmes, Diggs & Sadler has years of experience with child custody and family law issues, we feel confident that we will be able to address any questions you or your family has during this time.
Who determines how much visitation is fair and reasonable?
When a court awards primary custody to one parent, the parent with rights over the child will decide fair and reasonable visitation. Usually, both parents can communicate and work out a proper schedule together that allows for a significant amount of time with the child. This arrangement works in the best interest of the child and allows them to have both parents present in their life. However, there are situations where the parent with primary custody will give little visitation to the other. This can result in arguments, inconvenience, and little benefit for the child. Many courts now prefer for the parents to communicate together to create a plan. These parenting agreements usually include a visitation schedule and details about how to handle decisions regarding the child. Parenting agreements are a great way to avoid putting the noncustodial parent at the mercy of the other.
What is “the best interest of the child” standard when awarding custody?
The best interest of the child is a rather objective test that uses facts to determine child custody. There is a balancing of interests between what favors and opposes custody for each parent. The standard is applied on a case-by-case basis because the best interest of the child differs in every situation. There are no binding rules a court will follow. Instead, a court will determine child custody based on the facts at hand for that particular case. Because of this lack of mechanical evaluation, courts have wide discretion in concluding what is in the best interest of the child. The courts do have some limitations; the state sets out statutory factors it can consider, and it cannot put too much weight on one specific factor or concern itself with factors irrelevant to the case at hand.
Can only one parent receive custody?
Not always. In fact, it is rather common for courts to award joint custody (i.e., each parent has partial custody). There are two types of joint custody: joint legal and physical custody or joint legal custody.
Joint legal and physical custody means that the parents will share equal rights, physically and legally, over the child. Each parent is entitled to equal participation in decisions regarding the child. This type of custody is rare because of practicality and difficulty.
Joint legal custody is most often the result of a joint custody arrangement. This type of custody allows both parents to participate equally in deciding the child’s upbringing, but it is often more on a long-term scale than day-to-day decisions. In joint legal custody situations, only one parent will receive physical custody of the child.
Child custody cases can be emotionally trying as well as legally complex, which is why it is imperative for you to have a Houston divorce attorney on your side. For more information about our services or to schedule an appointment with our legal team, contact Holmes, Diggs & Sadler at (713) 802-1777 today.