If you are a parent of one or more underage children and you are undergoing a divorce, one of your main concerns is probably the division of child custody. Settling on custody arrangements may be easy or complicated. There are details about time, decision making responsibilities and financial support to hash out.
Because there are so many considerations child custody disputes have the potential to become ugly, drawn out battles. One factor may sway the conflict in or against your favor. However, there are some solid facts about child custody in Texas that you need to understand.
1. Texas classifies custody matters as one of two types
In Texas, child custody concerns fall under either conservatorship or possession and access. Conservatorship encompasses your duties and rights as a parent. This includes things like choosing schools or making medical decisions. It may be further divided into sole (single parent makes decisions) or joint (parents make decisions together). Possession and access simply refers to physical custody and visitation.
2. Texas is neither a “mother” state nor a “father” state
Texas does not favor either the mother or the father. Instead, it prefers that both parents have joint conservatorship (not equivalent to equal time). The exception is that if you are a single mother, the state grants you sole custody unless or until the father establishes/proves paternity.
3. Texas allows children over a certain age a say
If your kids are twelve or older, they have the right to voice a living situation preference. The judge takes this into account. In the end, though, the decision remains in the hands of the judge.
There are many more factors at play than these in custody disputes. However, it is important to be aware of these facts and how they affect your personal situation.