Round Rock Child Custody Lawyer

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Child custody rulings address how parenting should occur in the event that parents no longer live together. While these plans for a child’s care can be negotiated between parents or decided by the court, they must fit within the parameters set by Texas. They are often paired with intense emotions because of the love that parents have for their children. Because of the sensitive nature of a child custody case, it’s important that you work with the right Round Rock child custody lawyer.

At the Vaught Law Firm, we understand how difficult child custody cases can be for our clients. We take care to ensure that we are sensitive to the difficulties our clients face while providing top-tier legal help as well. Our lawyers are certified family law attorneys, meaning you can be sure that you are working with some of the strongest family law attorneys in the state.

Child Custody in Texas

Child custody in Texas is divided into two components, which the courts or a custody agreement negotiated by the parents can handle differently, depending on the situation. These two kinds of custody are:

  • Possession and Access. This part of custody focuses on where the child will be in a physical sense. It addresses where a child will primarily reside and how their time will be divided between the two parents.
  • Conservatorship. This aspect of custody is designed to address the rights and duties of parents, along with issues related to the decisions involved in raising a child, such as medical choices, religious observations, and education.

Generally, the courts prefer to try to give the child a strong relationship and connection with both parents unless there is a reason not to do so. For instance, the default preference of the court is that conservatorship be held jointly, according to Tex. Fam. Code § 153.131(b) (2021), where both parents are involved in the decision-making.

When a conservatorship is only given to one parent, this is known as sole conservatorship. However, this is not a common arrangement.

However, in terms of possession and access, the breakdown of time may not necessarily be even because of all the factors that may be involved. This is true even if there is still a joint conservatorship between the parents.

How Child Custody Is Decided in Texas

The primary guideline for a child custody decision in Texas is that it must be in the best interests of the child. Judges will consider a variety of different factors, but ultimately, their decision must be what they believe will have the most positive impact on the child.

In some situations, child custody will be decided by the courts, but parents are also able to work out a negotiated child custody agreement if they would like to. However, even when it is negotiated, a judge will need to sign off on the agreement to ensure that it meets the requirements of the law and is truly in the best interests of the child. Some of the factors considered by the court when making custody decisions include:

  • The emotional and physical needs of the child and how well each parent will be able to provide for those needs
  • Each parent’s parental abilities and shortcomings
  • What each parent’s plans are for the care of the child
  • The stability of the home that a parent can offer to the child
  • The kind of relationship that each parent presently has with the child
  • Anything that may be an emotional or physical threat to the child
  • The availability of programs parents can take advantage of to assist in pursuing the child’s best interests
  • The wishes of the child, if they are mature enough to have their opinion considered

Modifying Child Custody

Custody orders are given based on the information that’s available to the court at the present time. However, there can be changes in circumstances or new information brought to light that could impact what may be in a child’s best interests. When this is the case, it may be possible to modify the orders. However, the court will only consider a modification for one or more of three reasons:

  • There has been a material and substantial change of circumstances for a party impacted by the custody order.
  • The child, 12 years of age or older, has expressed a preference regarding their primary residence and is of sufficient age to do so.
  • Primary care of the child has been voluntarily relinquished by the person with the exclusive rights to decide the child’s primary residence.

There is a wide range of situations that may be considered substantial enough to warrant changing custody orders. Some issues include a change in employment or job requirements, medical conditions, moving closer or further away, substance abuse issues, or domestic violence. If you aren’t sure whether or not your situation could warrant modifications, talking with a lawyer can be helpful.

These modifications can be made by first submitting a petition to the court to have the orders changed. The court will determine whether or not to consider modifications on the basis of that petition, so it’s helpful to have an experienced lawyer help you put it together. They are familiar with what the court is looking for in a petition, which may give you a stronger chance of the modification being considered.

If the court is willing to hear the case, it will need to go to a hearing. If the other side agrees to the modifications or fails to respond to the petition, the hearing will only need to confirm that the changes will be in the best interest of the child. However, if the other side objects to the modifications, they will need to be argued in court. Again, having a lawyer represent you and make the argument can increase your chances of the outcome that you’re hoping for.

What if a Parent Interferes With the Time Designated for the Other Parent?

The custody orders will include how much time each parent is supposed to have with the child. It’s very important that both parties do everything that they can to ensure these orders are followed closely. Violations are taken very seriously, particularly if there are repeated issues or if one parent is purposely preventing the other parent from getting their allotted time with the child.

Violation of the court’s orders could result in a number of issues, including potential changes to the orders that could take custody or time with the child away from the violating parent. If you believe that custody orders may have been violated, you should talk with a lawyer soon to understand your options.

The Role of a Round Rock Child Custody Lawyer

How a child custody lawyer can help you depends on the specifics of your situation. In many cases, a custody issue may be part of the divorce process. In this instance, it’s likely that your lawyer will also be helping with the other primary issues of the divorce, including property division, child support, and spousal maintenance.

In other cases, child custody issues can emerge after a divorce is finalized and modifications are desired, or the parents may never have been married but still need a conservatorship plan approved by the court.

Whatever the custody situation may be, there are a few roles that you can expect your lawyer to play. One of these is to act as your representative. This could include representing you while submitting paperwork to the court, negotiating with the other party to see if an agreement can be reached, or making your case before the court. We can advocate for your interests and help you make the case that what you desire is in your child’s best interests.

Another critical element that your lawyer can provide is advice. There may be different options and approaches you can take surrounding the child custody issue, and your lawyer can provide advice based on their experience and understanding of the law. Additionally, given the stress and emotions involved with child custody issues, they can give you a reasonable idea of what to expect in terms of outcomes, which can help reduce some of the stress.

The Vaught Law Firm Can Help With Your Child Custody Needs

Child custody is often the most emotionally intense issue in family law. The love that parents have for their children drives a desire to spend time with and care for them. Unfortunately, though, the courts need to balance the desires of the parents and make rulings that they believe serve the child’s interests. It can be difficult for parents to come to an agreement on child custody, but the right lawyer can help.

The child custody lawyer you need understands how to work within the law to pursue your objectives but is honest enough to prepare you for the likely outcomes. It’s this kind of integrity and devotion to your goals that you can expect from the team at the Vaught Law Firm. Our certified family law attorneys are prepared to help with your child custody situation, and they can be reached by contacting our offices.