Child Custody Laws in Texas
When two parents with children are going through a divorce, they need to prepare a parenting plan, which is basically an agreement that will address who will take up which responsibilities of raising the children and to what extent. The agreement of the custody of the children should be as per the laws of the state that the parents are in.
In Texas, child custody is known as conservatorship by the law. The conservatorship laws are in compliance with the Uniform Child Custody Act (UCCA). This act tries to ensure the minimum amount of custody conflicts, especially in cases that may involve more than one state.
Applying for Custody in Texas:
A parent can apply for a child custody case in texas if,
- The child resides in Texas
- The child resided for 6 months in Texas prior to the custody case
- Parent has a job in Texas
- The parent can submit evidence to the State that the child's care, education, etc. are connected to Texas.
Conservator ship in Texas:
The Texas law encourages parents to come to an agreement and submit a parenting plan to the court for evaluation. If the parents cannot form a plan for custody and/or visitation, the court may take upon itself to make a decision on the agreement, on behalf of the parents. The court will make this agreement after considering the following factors:
- The needs and wishes of the child
- Which kind of custodial agreement will be in the child's best interest physically, mentally and legally
- Will the parent be an active participant the child's life
- Will the parent encourage the relationship between their child and the other parent
- The contribution of the parents in their child's upbringing
- Any other such factor that the court may deem relevant
The rights of the parents that are getting a divorce will vary depending on the type of custody they are granted by the Texan court. The parents can either get joint custody of the child, or one parent can get sole custodial rights.
In joint custody, the parents will share the responsibility of bringing up their kids. Both parents will be required to spend a significant amount with the child. The division of the time spend may or may not be equal. It should be decided while making the agreement. The parents can have joint legal custody, joint physical custody or both.
- Joint Legal Custody:
ere, both the parents will have the right to make important decisions for their child. The parents will need to communicate and consult each other before making any decisions with regards to the child's education, religion, health care, safety, etc.
- Joint Physical Custody: Here, both the parents will have the right to reside with their child. The amount of time the child will live with each parent will be decided through mutual consent.
- Sole Legal Custody: Here, only the conservator or the custodian will have the right to make welfare, educational or other such important decision for the child.
- Sole Physical Custody: Only one parent will live with the child, while the other parent may be granted visitation rights. The visitation may be supervised if the custodial parent feels uncomfortable leaving them alone with the other parent. However, the court may not grant the visitation rights, if it deems the parent harmful to the child.
Non-parents, generally the grandparents of the child, can be granted custody if the biological parents of the child are found to be unfit or deceased. The court will, however, need to prove that the non-parents have the best interest of the child in their mind, and the child is willing to stay with them.