Articles Posted in Child Custody

General Things to Know About Custody Mediation
Many parents find it hard to resolve disagreements about a parenting plan for their children. This is where child custody mediation comes in because parents can seek help from an expert in resolving disagreements.

Mediators can help parents write a parenting plan to come up with a custody and visitation order after the judge signs it. In some countries, a mediator or child custody recommending counselor can provide a written recommendation to parents and the court if they can’t agree to a parenting plan.

Goals of Mediation

Child Custody Vs. Conservatorship
Issues in child custody often arise in any legal proceedings that involve children. In most jurisdictions, determining which parent the child should reside with is according to the child’s best interests.

In the United States, child custody is just one of the legal terms used when referring to such proceedings. Conservatorship and guardianship can be used as a substitute.

In the Texas Family Code, conservatorship is used instead of custody. It comes in two specific types—Joint Managing Conservatorship and Sole Managing Conservatorship.

child custody attorneysWhen the parents of a minor child decide to end their marriage, custody of the minor child is often the single most contentious issue in the ensuing divorce. Unlike most other types of litigation, custody of a minor child is something that can be revisited at any time after the original custody decision is made. For the judicial system, ruling on issues related to custody of a minor child can be difficult and stressful process under normal circumstances. When those circumstances are complicated by jurisdictional issues, the entire process becomes even more complex. For example, if one parent takes the child across state lines, which state has jurisdiction to decide the issue of custody? The child custody attorneys at The Law Office of Jon R. Boys explain how the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) was enacted to try and clear up some of these issues.

Why the UCCJEA Was Needed

At one time, jurisdictional issues created a veritable nightmare for parents and courts. If a parent lost custody in one state, the parent simply took the child to another state hoping for a more sympathetic court. All too often they found a court willing to grant or modify custody in their favor. Another common scenario involves a child custody order issued in a state where the parents and the child lived together before the parents’ divorce.  Then the custodial parent moves with the child to another state.  If a modification is sought, which state has jurisdiction to modify the standing order?  If the new state purports to modify the order from the first state, which order is to be recognized and enforced in the first state and in every other state in the United States? What happens if both parents petition the court in their state of residence for a modification? Which court has jurisdiction? Of course, the children were the true losers in all of these situations.

child custody lawyerMaking the decision to end a marriage is rarely easy. The divorce process that follows that decision can be amicable or acrimonious, depending on how the parties choose to proceed. When custody of a minor child is contested, however, the divorce process becomes extremely contentious and adversarial. Both parents are convinced that the child is better off with them. What about how the child feels though? Do the child’s wishes matter in a custody battle? A Texas child custody lawyer from The Law Office of Jon R. Boyd answers that question.

Conservatorship of a Minor Child in Texas

First, it is important to understand some relevant terminology and law. In the State of Texas, the terms “custody” and “visitation” are not used in the law. Instead, the term “conservatorship” is used to refer to a parent’s legal rights and duties toward a minor child and the term “possession and access” is used when referring to the time a child spends with a parent. A parent can have jointing managing conservatorship over a child, meaning both parents share the right to make decisions about the child, or sole managing conservatorship, meaning only one parent has the right to make decisions.

Plano fathers rights attorneysAnytime the parents of a minor child decide to separate or get divorced, the child will feel the impact of that decision. In a perfect world, the parents are able to reach an amicable out of court agreement that allows both parents to continue to be an active part of raising the child post-divorce. Unfortunately, the world is not always perfect. Sometimes, parents end up in a contentious battle over custody of the child. Moreover, the issue of custody can rear its head again long after the divorce is final. If you are a father who is contemplating divorce, you need to understand your rights and responsibilities. Toward that end, the Plano fathers rights attorneys at The Law Office of Jon R. Boyd explain the ins and outs of custody in Texas.

Terms You Need to Know

Before discussing the custody laws in the State of Texas, you need to understand some important terms. Texas does not use the terms “custody” and “visitation.” Instead, the term used to refer to a parent who has legal rights and responsibilities for a minor child is “conservator.” A parent who has the sole right to make decisions regarding the minor child has “sole managing conservatorship.” If both parents share the right to make decisions they are referred to as “joint managing conservators.” The other important term to know is “possession and access.” “Possession and access” refers to when the parents have physical custody of the children or when they can visit with the children. Texas uses two possession and access schedules, standard and extended, to help parents schedule their parenting time; however, you are not required to stick to either of those schedules if you and the child’s other parent agree to a different schedule.

child custody attorneysLitigation that involves your children is not something anyone wants to be involved in; however, when parents of a minor child cannot reach an amicable out of court agreement to a contested issue, litigation becomes necessary. In a divorce, for example, many of the issues that must be resolved directly impact the children. Even after a divorce is finalized, the issue of conservatorship and/or possession and access of the children may be revisited. If you are involved in custody litigation of any kind, you may be required to participate in a deposition. So you will have some idea what to expect, the child custody attorneys at The Law Office of Jon R. Boyd prepare you for a deposition.

Litigation Basics

Whether you are involved in an initial divorce or a post-divorce modification of custody, the litigation process follows some of the same basic steps. In the case of a divorce, one spouse initiates the divorce process by filing a petition for dissolution or divorce which is then served on the other spouse. In the case of a desire to change conservatorship (custody) post-divorce, one party files a petition to modify which is then served on the other party. In both situations, the responding party has a short period of time within which a written response must be filed. After that, the parties typically try to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. If an agreement is reached, the parties submit the agreement in writing to the court for approval. If the parties are unable to resolve the issue(s) quickly and amicably, the next step in the litigation process is the “discovery” process.

girl-672254_1920-300x201When the parents of a minor child get divorced it is never easy for the child. The parents, however, can make the situation better, or worse, depending on how they act toward each other and how they choose to approach the issue with the child. When one parent chooses to disparage the other parent, it clearly has an impact on the child. In extreme cases, it can cause parental alienation. If you are a divorced parent who may be the victim of parental alienation, the Plano child custody attorneys at The Law Offices of Jon R. Boyd urge you to read the following information about parental alienation.

What Is Parental Alienation Syndrome?

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a term coined back in the 1980’s by child psychiatrist Dr. Richard A. Gardner. PAS occurs when one parent attempts to turn the couple’s children against the other parent.  A parent who is angry at the spouse or ex-spouse accomplishes this estrangement by painting a negative picture of the other parent, makes derogatory comments about the parent, blames the other parent for the marriage not working, and making false accusations of all kinds that are shared with the children.  The goal is to discredit and sabotage the target parent in the eyes of the child in the hope that the child will eventually turn against the target parent. Unfortunately, the efforts of the alienating parent are often successful. An alienating parent may also hoard the kids, doing all they can to thwart the other parent’s attempts to have parenting time.

child custody attorneys

Sad looking siblings with their arguing parents behind them

Of all the potential legal issues in a divorce, custody of the minor children is the most likely to turn contentious. It is also the most likely to rear its head again long after the divorce is over. While it is true that some parents fight for custody out of spite or for other less than honorable motives, most custody battles involve two parents who both believe they are doing what is best for the children. For a father, several factors typically go into deciding whether to fight for custody. One of those factors is the cost involved in seeking custody. If you are thinking about seeking custody of your minor children, you undoubtedly want to know how much child custody attorneys charge. Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” answer to that question; however, it may help to know some common factors that impact what child custody attorneys usually charge.

Conservatorship (Custody) in Texas

15140-300x201Few issues within a divorce have more potential to turn an amicable divorce into an adversarial battle than the issue of custody of the minor children   The divorce process is emotionally, practically, and financially exhausting even if the parties both work together to reach a mutually agreeable Marital Settlement Agreement. Unfortunately, the nature and purpose of the divorce process means that an amicable resolution process is the exception to the norm. This is particularly true when custody, or conservatorship as it is referred to in Texas, is contested. If you and your spouse are both vying for custody of your minor child, the court may order a home study. An Allen child custody attorney explains what to expect and how to prepare for a home study.

What Does It Mean to Be Your Child’s Conservator?

When the parents of a minor child divorce, important decisions relating to the child must be made during the divorce process. Conservatorship of the child is one of those issues. In Texas, the term “conservatorship” is used instead of “custody” and refers to the parent’s right to make important decisions relating to the child, such as where the child will attend school and what medical treatment the child will receive, and with whom the child shall live most of the time. Conservatorship can be sole or joint. If you are awarded sole managing conservatorship it means that you alone get to make those important decisions. Conversely, if you share joint managing conservatorship of your child with the other parent it means that you both have the legal right to make important decisions relating to your child. Possessory conservatorship refers to your rights to possession of or access to the child.

aa-child-300x240Within the area of family law, there is no issue more emotional or potentially contentious than the issue of child custody. Whether the issue comes up during a divorce or paternity action, or is revisited at a later date, a custody battle typically has a significant, and often lasting, impact on everyone involved – particularly the child. Given the impact a custody battle does have on a child you might think a child would have considerable input regarding the decision reached by the court; however, that is not always the case. In fact, input by a child in a custody case tends to be the exception, not the rule. A Fort Worth child custody lawyer explains when a child’s wishes are considered and how the court handled the testimony of a minor.

Child Custody Basics

In the State of Texas, terms such as “custody” and “visitation” are not used in the law. Instead, the term “conservatorship” is used to refer to the parent(s) who has the legal right to make important decisions affecting the child, such as where the child will attend school or what medical treatment. The term “possession and access” is then used to refer to when the child will enjoy parenting time with a parent. Although the terminology is different, the basic concepts remain the same. One parent will typically be designated as the parent with whom the child lives the majority of the time while the other parent will have the child according to the possession and access schedule ordered by the court.

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