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San Antonio Child Custody Lawyer Pursuing Fair Custody Arrangements

The conservatorship arrangement that comes with a divorce will considerably shape a child’s development into adulthood. When you and your spouse are trying to resolve your divorce through mediation or litigation, you want to be sure that you are also prioritizing your children’s needs. Thankfully, you can rely on the guidance of a compassionate and committed Texas family law attorney for the help you need.

I am John Hicks, an attorney who is dedicated to serving the people of the San Antonio community. I am a former Marine and current Emergency Medical Services (EMS) worker and firefighter. At The Hicks Law Firm, I use my experience from these professions to help my clients through difficult decisions and delicate situations during their cases. I know how challenging child custody matters can be, and I want to help you through the hurdles of your case by acting on your behalf whenever possible and answering important questions that you may have along the way.

Types Of Child Custody Agreements

There are three primary types of custody in Texas courts:

  • Joint custody: Both parents share custody of their children. Called “joint managing conservatorship” in Texas law.
  • Sole custody: Only one parent, known as the custodial parent, is awarded custody of the children. This arrangement is also known as sole managing conservatorship. The noncustodial parent generally receives regular visitation rights with the kids.
  • Third-party custody: Although less common, this form of custody is when a party who is not a biological parent of the children is awarded custody.

These refer to physical custody, meaning where the children will live. There is also legal custody, which is the right to make decisions about your children’s upbringing, including where they go to school and who their doctor will be. Regardless of whether they share joint physical custody or not, parents almost always share joint legal custody as one of the key parental rights.

Every case is unique. As your child custody attorney, I can help you pursue the custody agreement that is best for your family.

What Do Texas Courts Look At When Determining Conservatorship?

A Texas court will consider many factors when determining the conservatorship agreement, also known as a parenting plan. Many of these factors include the age, health, income and mental stability of each parent; the child’s relationship with each parent; how much a relocation by one parent would disrupt the child’s life; and whether a parent could be a threat or danger to the child.

When Can You Modify A Conservatorship Arrangement?

If you do not agree with a custody arrangement, or circumstances in your life have changed and you need the arrangement to reflect those changes, the soonest it can be changed is one year from when it went into effect. If you previously filed for modification, then you will need to wait a total of two years before filing again.

What To Know About Relocation And Child Custody

It is not unusual for someone to move to another part of Texas or out of state in the months or years after a divorce. Such a move could make a child custody order challenging or virtually impossible to maintain, and it may be necessary to get the co-parent’s permission first, or go to court if the co-parent objects. The law says that a parent can only move with their children if the move is in the children’s best interests and will not substantially affect the other parent’s rights and duties.

As a child custody lawyer, I represent both parents looking to move and parents opposing the move. I will work for a result that respects your parental rights and ensures a good living situation for your children.

What Rights Do Unmarried Parents Have In Texas?

In Texas, the law does not consider an unmarried biological father to automatically be the parent of a child. This lack of recognition means that the unmarried father needs to establish paternity before he can experience any of the rights that a legal father has in a courtroom.

What About Grandparents In Texas?

Generally, the law defers to parents to decide who gets to spend time with their children. A grandparent who has been denied access to their grandchildren does not have an absolute to visits, but can go to court to request a court order granting them visitation rights over the parents’ objection. To succeed, the grandparent must show that denied visitation would significantly impair the child’s health or emotional well-being, and that the grandparent’s child (the parent objecting to the visits) is:

  • Incarcerated for at least three months prior to the filing
  • Found by a court to be incompetent
  • Deceased, or
  • Lacks actual or court-ordered possession of or access to the child

Can You Have A Custody Agreement That Is Not Court-Ordered?

Without a court order, your ability to enforce your parental rights is limited. You and your co-parent can agree on a custody arrangement on your own, but if your co-parent stops abiding by it and denies you access to your kids, you cannot go to court to ask the judge to help you. This is why most parents in San Antonio find it worthwhile to obtain a child custody order, even if they have a friendly relationship with their co-parent. 

Pursuing A Custody Agreement, You Can Count On

Defending your best interests through any legal matter on your own can be a considerable challenge. When defending your children’s needs, do not take any chances, and seek the legal help you deserve. Call my San Antonio office at 210-987-3059 or email me here to schedule your free initial consultation today.