A divorce can be a very stressful time, both personally and legally, and particularly if there are children involved. There are a number of things to consider during your divorce – for example finances, legal representation and living arrangements. However, the principal issue is the amicable resolution of any questions regarding the custody arrangements in relation to your child.
A trustworthy San Antonio divorce lawyer, with experience in Texas family law, will help you to navigate the legal factors that can affect the agreement of a fair custody arrangement for your child during your divorce. There is a range of elements to consider during the child custody case that can affect the outcome. Your divorce attorney will discuss each consideration with you in detail prior to reaching an agreement.
Follow our brief guide and think about what type of arrangement you are seeking before meeting with your lawyer. This will help to ensure as little disruption as possible to your child’s daily routine and try to reduce the amount of time it takes to reach a suitable custody arrangement with your former spouse.
Your Financial Situation
During a custody case, the court will compile a summary of both you and your ex-partner’s individual finances, including how much each of you earns and your monthly outgoings. This will determine how much either of you could comfortably afford to pay in child support after the divorce. This may also be considered when establishing which parent is awarded primary care or sole custody of the child if this is what you are seeking.
The court may use your current economic situation to decide which parent is better able to support the child financially, in terms of education, healthcare, and other necessities. It is advisable to organize all of your financial information before your case begins to prevent any possible delays.
What Type of Custody Are You Seeking?
In Texas, the court separates child custody issues into different categories, including joint or sole custody and conservatorship or possession and access. Try to sit down and carry out a civil discussion with your former partner to decide which type of custody arrangement is best for your child, before informing your attorney of the details of your case.
Joint custody means both parents undertake equal responsibility of their child. The child would also split their time living with both parents. Sole custody involves the court appointing you as the main caregiver of your child. In this case, you will be individually responsible for decisions affecting their well-being, and they will live primarily with you. If you are awarded sole custody, your ex-partner may be awarded specific scheduled access and visitation rights.
Conservatorship refers to the rights and responsibilities of each parent, for example, decisions concerning schooling, relating to any health issues, or where your child will live. This can be awarded according to a sole or joint custody agreement. Possession and access is applied when each parent has physical custody of the child or when they are able to visit them. In Texas, possession and access are divided into two sections, standard and extended standard, according to what is best for the child.
Your Child’s Wishes
While the main practical factors in a child custody case concern the parents ability to care for their child or any special circumstances, one of the most important considerations to be taken into account by all parties are the child wants. The court will ask your child what their feelings are concerning their living situation and how regularly they spend time with each parent.
If one parent is moving away after the divorce and your child would prefer to remain in the area for school, friends, and family, this will also be considered as a factor that affects the court’s final decision. The aim is to cause as little disruption to your child’s life as possible, so the court will settle on a schedule that causes minimal stress.
The court will ask questions concerning each parent’s relationship with their child and who has previously been responsible for the primary care of your child. Testimonies from children aged twelve and over are accepted by the court and can influence the custody decision. However, it is important to consider the specific needs and wishes of your child in every custody case.