It is no secret that Texas prefers to have both parents involved in their child’s life during child custody situations. This is known as joint custody. However, sometimes certain circumstances prevent this from happening.
If you are a parent who wants to know more about how to get full custody in Texas, then read on for more information about how it works to gain sole custody of your child.
How Child Custody Works in Texas
Child custody in Texas is divided into two types: physical custody and legal custody.
Physical custody simply determines where the child will live. Legal custody, on the other hand, determines who has the right to make decisions about the child’s welfare, including education, healthcare, and religious upbringing.
These categories are not actual custody arrangements. Instead, they are used to clarify the types of parental rights awarded under either of two custody arrangements typically awarded in Texas: sole custody and joint custody.
First, let’s look at sole custody. Also known as a sole managing conservatorship, this type of arrangement grants one parent all of the parenting time and decision-making power. In other words, the parent with sole custody has both legal and physical custody, and the other parent may only receive visitation rights. These situations typically involve court-ordered child support arrangements.
For a court to grant sole custody, the judge must find that it is in the child’s best interest. There are a few situations where a court may find that sole custody is in the child’s best interest. For example, if one parent has a history of abuse or neglect, the family court may feel that it is not safe for the child to be in that parent’s care.
If you seek sole custody in Texas, you must prove to the family court that the other parent is unfit. This can be difficult, so working with a family lawyer such as myself is important to support your case.
The other type of child custody arrangement is joint custody. In this arrangement, both parents share parenting time and decision-making power.
However, these responsibilities can be split in several ways. Parents can have joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or both. These arrangements may or may not involve child support orders depending on the unique division of parenting responsibilities.
Joint custody is generally considered the “default” custody arrangement. Anything deviating from it is only ordered when the judge feels joint custody is not in the child’s best interest.
What You Need to Prove to Get Full Custody in Texas
“Full custody” is not a term used under the Texas Family Code. However, it is a common term used to describe arrangements where one parent, known as the managing conservator, has both physical custody and legal custody of a child. This would disallow the other parent from having access to their child.
If you want full custody of your child, you will need to prove to the court that it is in the child’s best interest. There are a few factors that the court will consider when making a decision about custody:
- Any history of abuse or neglect
- The child’s preference – if the child is old enough to express a reasonable preference about each parent-child relationship
- Each parent’s ability to provide a stable home environment for the child
- Each parent’s ability to care for the child and meet their physical and emotional needs
- Any other factor that the court deems relevant
To support your argument, you will need to provide evidence supporting the factors mentioned above. For example, if you are trying to prove that the other parent is abusive, you will need to provide evidence of this abuse. This may include police reports, medical records, and statements from witnesses.
Work With a Texas Family Law Attorney
The key to obtaining full custody in the state of Texas is not to convince the court that you are well-suited to raise your child but instead that the other parent’s presence is detrimental to your child. This is a difficult burden to meet, so you must work with a seasoned attorney who understands what is required to present the strongest possible case.
If you are seeking full custody of your child, I can help you gather the evidence you need to prove that it is in your child’s best interest to be in your sole custody.
I currently help parents in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County with child custody cases. If you live in one of these counties, then call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss your child custody situation.
I look forward to providing you with expert legal advice as you learn how to get full custody in Texas.