Dealing with the custody of minor children in Texas is often a side issue when handling a divorce – and often a very emotional and stressful time for both parents and the minor children. The term child custody is not used as often; parenting plans is a modern term for establishing guidelines that both parents will agree to follow once the divorce is final.
Original Custody Decisions
The judicial system approaches this topic with one primary concern: protecting the best interests of the child or children. Sole conservator awards physical and legal child custody to only one parent, while joint conservators are both parents.
The following factors are examined by the court regarding each parent’s:
- Capability to raise the children.
- Future plans for themselves and the children.
- Stability of the home setting.
- Past or potentially future abuse or harm to the children.
- Handling of current physical and emotional needs for the children.
Being able to handle such important legal concerns often requires the services of child custody attorneys who are experienced in the handling of sensitive child custody issues. The preferred arrangement for minor children is to have parents agree on a plan for the raising of the children.
When all issues have been resolved, a Final Order is issued and signed by both parents and the presiding judge.
What happens after this time if either parent does not agree with and wants to change the Final Order? An integral part of dealing with child custody includes modifications to and enforcement of final custody orders.
Modifications to Original Custody Decisions
Modifications to the child custody order can be done at any time based on individual circumstances. Either one of the parents can request that changes be made as can the child if he or she is 12 years of age or older.
There are certain statutory requirements that dictate what life circumstances warrant a change of the custody order.
The entire process can be done easily and quickly if both parents agree on the modification. Otherwise, it will have to be presented in family court for a decision to be made that will result in another Final Order.
Enforcement of Original Custody Decisions
What if one parent does not follow the stated guidelines of the Final Order? Enforcement of any order regarding child custody requires that a motion be filed for enforcement of the violated order.
Such motions are clearly and concisely worded. They state which portions of the original Order were violated and exactly how that took place. Any issue that is not included on your Enforcement motion but thought of during a hearing cannot be included.
If agreement of both parties can be reached prior to a hearing in Family Court, such agreement may be presented at the hearing for approval by the presiding judge. Otherwise, evidence is presented by both sides and a decision is rendered.
Handling all the aspects of child custody requires the knowledge of a child custody attorney. All issues concerning the future of your children is of vital importance – get help from a lawyer who will be dedicated to your child custody concerns!
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