Divorce Laws in Texas for Child Custody - All You Need to Know

If you’re getting divorced in the Lone Star State, you must carefully explore your options, rights, and obligations. It is imperative to be well-informed about divorce laws in Texas for child custody. If you choose to end your marriage and children are involved, it will take more planning and care to protect them and their well-being. Here are some significant tips and procedures you will have to follow.

A little girl between her parents.
If you’re getting divorced with children, you must take extra care throughout the whole process.

How Is Child Custody Determined in Texas?

Divorcing in Texas with children requires a special and more cautious approach. According to the state’s Family Law, the court can make crucial decisions regarding child care and guardianship. The ultimate factors that the judges consider cover the child’s best interests. If the case doesn’t involve some serious foul play between the spouses, they usually get joint custody. That way, Texas divorce laws for child custody allow both parents the legal right to participate in the child’s life and be included in the decision-making processes.

Hands next to a wooden mallet.
The court usually grants joint guardianship, except when there’s a very good reason not to include one of the spouses.

Who Has Custody of a Child When the Parents Are Divorced?

The State of Texas custody laws are usually on the mother’s side. The court almost always declares the mother as the one who will have both legal and physical responsibility. Legal custody means having the right to make crucial decisions that involve the child’s healthcare, education, and religion, among other factors. In this state, both parents may share it. Physical custody is the right to live with a child, and it can be granted to both parents as well.

Is Texas a Mother or Father State - Which Parent Gets More Rights in a Divorce?

In this state, the mother is usually seen as a legal parent. In most cases, they automatically have custody of children in Texas. Also, the mother has the right to verify paternity and collect child support from the father.

Whether or not a parent must pay child support depends on what the court settles to be in the child’s best interests. They take these factors into account:

  • The child’s physical and emotional needs,
  • The existence of any physical or emotional danger,
  • Fitness of each parent (including abuse, physical force, and family violence),
  • False reports of abuse,
  • Estimated level of stability of the home,
  • Future plans for the children,
  • Cooperation between parents and their parenting skills,
  • The child’s primary caregiver,
  • The child’s preferences (if they are 12 or older),
  • Proximity to the home where other siblings, if any, live.

The parent who’s found to be fit to spend the most time with the children usually receives the support.

Two pairs of hands and wedding rings on the table with paperwork.
It’s the child’s right to comment on their preferences if they are 12 years of age or older.

Can a Father Take a Child Away From the Mother in Texas?

According to the Pew Research Center, 32% of children in the US live with a divorced parent, and the numbers seem to be on the rise. When filing for a divorce in Texas, these matters are usually paramount. If the father wishes to obtain parental rights, he would have to provide evidence of paternity first by signing the Acknowledgement of Paternity (or AOP). Secondly, he will undergo DNA testing. Without it, the mother can deny him visitation rights as well. Also, parents need to have a court order that contains the necessary information about:

  • Conservatorship
  • Rights and responsibilities
  • Possession
  • Access
  • Support

What Does Conservatorship Mean?

Conservatorship is a term that covers all aspects of sharing children when the spouses are no longer married. It also designates them every right and duty. This includes the right to determine the child’s primary residence. During the period of being separated before getting divorced, couples can reach a mutual understanding regarding these crucial points, including the matters of the child’s home.

A legal document.
From filing a petition until signing a decree, couples should strive to reach a mutual agreement.

Child Support and Visitation Order

If a spouse who should be in charge of paying support fails to do so, the other party can’t deny them the right to visit. The rules and obligations that cover divorce and child custody in Texas don’t allow it. Additionally, visitation rights do not apply to the child’s grandparents in almost any case. However, there could be some exceptions when grandparents can meet statutory requirements and even gain custodianship of children.

How Long Does It Take for Child Custody to be Decided?

This question is fairly difficult to answer. It is similar to answering the question - How long does a divorce take in Texas. Every case is different. It could even take a few years, like in some cases of a contested divorce, which is known to be far more complex than the uncontested divorce. The second, simpler, and more inexpensive option can involve filing for a divorce online. However, while waiting, you can have a temporary order until the final decree is signed. During that time, parties should get help from an unbiased lawyer. Mediation services usually help couples determine their common goals. Once you fulfill all the Texas divorce requirements, you must be patient and maintain excellent communication with the spouse.

A cardboard cutout of a family on a judge’s desk.
The time spouses must wait for the final decision depends on the duration of the entire process.

Professional Help With Divorce Laws in Texas for Child Custody

Although the Lone Star is known as one of the 50/50 states, many couples still need professional help with property division. The same goes for the matters that concern the children and their lives. Contacting a lawyer on time and acquiring all relevant information is the key to having a trouble-free divorce process in Texas. Get in touch with the most reliable Texas divorce and child custody attorney office and finalize the process with less stress and more favorable results. Your child custody concerns might be easily resolved in only a few clicks.