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A Guide to Child Custody in Texas

Child custody and visitation is a difficult process that requires the help of an attorney during a divorce. It’s not easy for parents to come to an agreement about the custody of their children, and we understand that in most cases, both parents would want custody of their children.

While it would be ideal for you and your ex to share custody of your children equally, you should be aware of how custody and visitation work in Texas.

Where Can Child Custody be Filed?

Before you file for custody of your children, you should know that where you live affects the type of custody you may have. For example, other states have no jurisdiction over Texas courts. If your ex lives in another state and you live in Texas, your ex would need to file for custody in Texas.

Also, if you’re filing for custody of your child, then they would need to have lived in Texas for at least six months.

There are three different types of custody in Texas that parents can be granted: temporary, legal custody, and physical custody. Parents can also gain temporary custody during the separation period.

What is Temporary Custody?

Temporary custody is commonly given based on the best interests of your child. Having temporary custody does not mean that you will always have the same custody arrangement — meaning it’s not an initial award of custody. Instead, this means that you will have a custody arrangement for a limited amount of time until your court hearing for your actual custody orders.

What is Physical Custody?

Physical custody means your child would be able to live with you. You could have joint physical custody that would allow your child to live with you and your ex, as well as have time that will be equally divided between you. However, there are instances where custody may not always be equally split between both parents.

What is Legal Custody?

Legal custody is when you have the right and responsibility to make decisions that can affect your child. These are usually major life decisions that involve your child’s healthcare, religion, school activities, discipline, non-emergency decisions, and more.

Legal custody can either be sole or joint.

What is Sole Legal Custody?

This type of custody is only awarded to one parent and should be where the child lives and spends most of their time.

What is Joint Legal Custody?

Joint legal custody is when you and your ex share and make decisions together about your child’s upbringing and daily activities. However, your child would still have only one primary residence.

While there are custody options to suit you and your ex’s requests, a judge would focus primarily on your child’s best interests as a major deciding factor.

What Does the Term Best Interests Mean?

When determining what is in the best interests of your child, a judge would refer to Texas Family Code Section 154.002 which describes the standards needed to meet the best interests of the child.

A judge would analyze certain factors such as:

  • The environment of your home.
  • Distance between you and your ex’s home.
  • Your ability to take care of your child.
  • If you and your ex can work together to raise your child.
  • Your financial situation, and your ex’s financial situation.
  • You and your ex’s employment status.
  • Your travel time to and from work (and work hours).
  • Whether your child has a preference (if they are at least twelve years old).

Like most states, custody in Texas can take several months or longer to settle. But when you have an attorney with experience in working on cases with this level of difficulty, you will be able to focus more of your time on your children.

San Antonio Child Custody and Visitation Attorneys

If you are separated from your spouse or going through a divorce, but need help with starting a child custody case, our attorneys at The Law Office of Derek S. Ritchie, PLLC are ready to assist you and file your paperwork. We handle every family law custody case with careful attention because of its sensitive nature.

Reach us today at (210) 761-4943 to schedule a consultation and begin filing your paperwork!