Divorce is a difficult process, regardless of whether or not children are involved. However, if a marriage does involve children, there is a decision to be made about where the children will live after a divorce. Sometimes parents are confused about what is involved with child custody, and how the judge makes decisions about custody once a divorce is finalized. In Texas, the term “child custody” is not used in legal proceedings; instead the term “conservatorship” is standard. A Houston family attorney will be able to explain the various aspects of Texas child custody law to you prior to going before a family court judge. Not all custody cases are the same, particularly when the court is being asked to consider the living arrangements for children 12 and older. Ask your Houston family attorney to explain the following:
What exactly is involved with conservatorship? The term “conservatorship” actually means “decision-making”; so a parent who has retained some custody, or conservatorship, rights will be responsible for the decisions surrounding their children. Sometimes this responsibility is divided between the parents, but other cases result in one parent retaining most of the decision-making rights. The division of conservatorship may hinge upon whether the custodial arrangement is sole or joint; however even a joint custody conservatorship may result in one parent retaining the majority of decision-making responsibilities. A quality Houston family attorney will make sure that you retain as much conservatorship as possible.
Does everyone need a conservatorship arrangement? The short answer for this question is yes. Even amicable divorces require a legal conservatorship arrangement according to Texas child custody law.
My child is older. Can they influence where they live? Texas child custody law states that children 12 years of age or older can contribute to the custody decision-making process. The Court may choose to interview older children to find out their preferences for conservatorship as part of the overall process, or the child may make a written statement to the Court expressing their preferences. A Houston family law attorney will usually give older children plenty of information about how to make their feelings about custody known; however attorneys will also be clear that the final decision will ultimately be made in “the best interests of the child”, which means the judge is not bound follow the child’s wishes. Children 12 years and older have input according to Texas child custody law, but they do not have the final say.
Busby and Associates P.C.
The experienced, professional Houston family law attorneys at Busby and Associates P.C. understand that child custody laws in Texas are difficult to navigate, which is why we are skilled at patiently walking our clients through the process. We are able to help parents retain the conservatorship rights most seek, while placing the needs of the children in the forefront. The knowledge and skill of Busby and Associates attorneys are also helpful for older children who will have some influence throughout the child custody hearings. Call us today at 713.974.1151, and let us represent you and your children through your child custody proceedings.