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Our Katy Visitation Attorneys Are Ready to Work For You

Child custody arrangements are often the most difficult, intense, and emotional parts of a divorce. Even in the most amicable circumstances, it can be hard to find that delicate balance between the desires of both parents and what is in the best interest of their children.

If you and your spouse are going through the divorce process in Texas and children are involved, we recommend getting a family attorney involved right away to support your child custody goals.

A seasoned attorney will help you navigate challenges and help prevent the process from becoming unproductive. For parents in the Fort Bend County area of Katy, Texas, we can provide local support for your case, helping you navigate child custody and visitation issues. 

Learn how our Katy visitation attorneys are ready to defend your parental rights throughout the legal process.

The Most Common Child Custody Agreement in Texas

One of the most common types of custody arrangements in Texas is a pre-determined division of possession and access, which is set by a parenting plan or possession schedule (often through a joint managing conservatorship).

In Texas, the terms “possession” and “access” refer to how physical and legal custody are arranged. The custodial parent with possession (or legal custody) makes important decisions surrounding the child’s life and their primary place of residence.

The parent with access (or physical custody) has frequent contact with the child and can schedule visitation. This person usually spends a smaller percentage of time with their child and has less of a say about the child’s life.

However, the arrangement is not always cut and dry. It can differ for every couple, and how you structure the joint managing conservatorship will depend on the arrangement you agree upon.

How a Parenting Plan Can be Customized

There is no “one size fits all” parenting plan, so it can be tailored to meet the needs of both parents and their children. The court can also consider other practical matters. And when both parents agree to work together, they can form some type of compromise.

Working toward a mutually beneficial arrangement will allow both parents to achieve their goals. For example, access schedules can be customized to meet each parent’s circumstances and availability, as well as their employment schedules (depending on what suits them).

Even if parents cannot reach an agreement on their own, things will work similarly. In this type of situation, attorneys will represent each party and will try to come up with a schedule that is a reasonable compromise – one that will meet each parent’s needs and desires.

If parents still cannot arrive at a reasonable custody agreement, the case will go through the family law system in Fort Bend County. The court will then work toward a possession order based on the amount of available evidence and what they believe is in the child’s best interests.

Common Possession Time-Sharing Schedules

There are many ways that time can be split between each parent as part of the custody agreement. The time each parent spends with their children is usually determined by their work schedules along with the child’s education schedule (including any after-school activities on evenings and weekends).

The most common custody arrangements include the following:

  • The 4-3 Schedule — The children spend three days a week with one parent and four days a week with the other.
  • The 2-2-5-5 Schedule — The children are with each parent for a two-day period, followed by a five-day period with each one.
  • The Alternating Weekend Schedule — The children spend all of their weekdays with the same parent, but they alternate their weekends between each one.
  • The 50/50 Schedule — The children spend an alternating week with each parent, which allows everyone to spend weekdays and weekends fairly.

We recommend that parents find a way to account for times that don’t fit neatly into these schedules. Schedules can typically be affected when children have breaks throughout the school year, when one parent wants to go on vacation, or when a parent’s work schedule becomes atypical for a short period (such as during busy spells or extended business trips).

Circumstances for Modifying a Child Custody Order in Texas

After a child custody order has been issued and a visitation schedule has been set, these court-issued rulings can be modified at a future time. The primary driver for pursuing a modification is if there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances.

According to Texas Law, either parent can file a petition to modify a child custody order, which must be filed in the court that granted the divorce. If the child has moved, the family law case can be transferred to a court within the child’s new county.

The length of time required to resolve the modification will depend on each parent’s cooperation level. If both parents believe the child custody order needs to be modified, you can submit a proposed custody order that explains the change in circumstances to the court, who will review the modifications. Once the order has been approved, it will become legally enforceable.

If both parents cannot agree on whether the order needs to be modified, the process will take longer. Both parents will need to go in front of a judge to modify the order. According to the law, the parent who wants to modify the order must prove that:

  • The child is at least 12 years old and wants to change his or her primary caregiver.
  • There has been a change in circumstances that is material and substantial.
  • The proposed changes to the order would be in the child’s best interests.

If the child is under the age of 12 and does not want to change his or her primary caregiver, the order typically cannot be modified unless there has been a change in circumstances that is both material and substantial. Texas courts have interpreted this requirement to include the following:

  • Changes in the parent’s marital status
  • Job relocations
  • Unemployment
  • Medical conditions
  • Abuse or neglect of the child by either parent
  • Substance abuse

In these cases, the court will not modify the custody order unless the changes are in the child’s best interests. They will look at several factors, such as the child’s needs and wishes, whether he or she is old enough to express them, and his or her relationship with each parent (e.g. does the child need supervised visits with one parent?).

Find Support From Our Katy Visitation Attorneys

Whether you’re going through the child custody process or need support modifying an existing custody and visitation arrangement, we can provide the legal support your family needs.

Because we are local to Fort Bend County, our team of Texas family law attorneys can give your case the personalized attention it needs. If you’re looking for one of the top Katy visitation attorneys to help you and your children, be sure to get in touch with Parker & Aguilar.

To get started on your child custody case, call our law firm in Fort Bend County at 281-944-5485 to schedule a consultation. We look forward to reviewing your legal options and supporting your family during this time.