Divorce is complicated enough on its own. It gets even more complex when children are involved, especially if one parent is unfit to uphold his or her responsibilities in providing care for a child. This child custody legal situation might warrant what is commonly referred to as granting full custody to a responsible parent.
If you are in such a position where you believe your ex-spouse is unfit to care for the child, you may be wondering how to get full custody of a child in the state of Texas. Whether it be that the other parent is endangering the child or the other parent is absent, there are certain situations where full custody is legally accessible.
You need to seek qualified legal advice to support your argument in these types of situations. As an experienced family law attorney, I am uniquely suited to help you get the best outcome for you and your child. Let’s examine the steps involved in obtaining full custody of your child.
Defining Full Custody of a Child in Texas
In order to answer the question of how to get full custody, we must first establish what is meant by the term “full custody.” In Texas, “custody” is not the legal term used. Instead, there are two legal concepts involved: “conservatorship” and “possession and access.”
– “Conservatorship” is essentially the rights and responsibilities the parent has when it comes to raising a child. If both parents share their rights and responsibilities, they would have a joint managing conservatorship. For only one parent to retain those rights and responsibilities, he or she would need to be granted a sole managing conservatorship. There are strict requirements in Texas to achieve this standing.
– “Possession and access” means physical custody and visitation rights. The possession and access schedule legally dictates how much time each parent has with the child.
For example, suppose both parents have been named joint managing conservators. In that case, a typical possession and access schedule may have the child spending weekends with the mother and weekdays with the father. This schedule is based mostly on the child’s best interest, with the ideal being time split equally between both parents, or otherwise a continuation of the established routine.
These two concepts together make up what most people know as custody. For a parent to be granted “full custody,” he or she would have to be granted sole managing conservatorship and sole possession and access. Such a case is rare, but it can happen.
Getting Full Custody of Your Child in Texas
If you are seeking full custody, you will need to be able to present proof that such an arrangement is necessary for the wellbeing of your child. It will depend on the circumstances of each individual case, which is why it is important to obtain legal counsel to help you make the strongest argument.
For this reason, a mother or father who believes the other parent is unfit should start collecting evidence immediately. Compelling evidence is the key to a strong case, and that is what is needed to get the desired outcome in a custody case.
If the other parent is abusive to the child, you, or both, don’t hesitate to file a police report. Not only will this hopefully lead to justice for the abused, but police reports are also great evidence because they create a record of abuse that can be used as part of your legal defense.
Verbal abuse and harassment can be hard to verify without documented proof, but if it takes the form of text messages, emails, or voicemails, make sure you record these forms of communication. If possible, it would also be wise to create alternate accounts with strong passwords to back up your evidence in case the other parent attempts to access and delete anything. Generating a paper trail to capture the abusive behavior is also recommended. Oftentimes, this can be the deciding factor to win the case.
For example, the other parent may be abusing drugs or alcohol, exposing the child to bad situations, or failing to provide basic food, clothing, or shelter. Any evidence you can get of such behavior should likewise be collected. Arrests, hospitalizations, CPS reports, or even conversations with school faculty should all be recorded. This could prove to be sufficient evidence to support your case.
In the event of the other parent being absent, make sure you record any voicemails or text messages from the school, other family members, or neighbors capturing the neglect. If your child’s school calls because the other parent never showed up to collect your child at the end of the day or the other parent refuses to see the child, then document this activity. The more documentation you can provide, the stronger your case will be.
What it comes down to is making a compelling case that full custody is in your child’s best interest. Because these cases are so complicated, you need expert legal assistance to ensure the best outcome.
Work With Me to Obtain Full Custody of Your Child
There is a long road ahead in gaining full custody of your child. Documents, records, and evidence are all required to make the strongest case possible. I know the Texas legal system to help you understand which evidence to gather and how to build your case.
I have helped countless parents in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County work through these difficult child custody cases to achieve the best possible outcome. I’ll work with you to help you and your child as well.
If you have more questions about how to get full custody of a child in Texas, or if you’re ready to get started building your case, then call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 for a consultation. I’m here to help you during this difficult time.