Custody of children is often the hot-button issue in divorce, and unchecked emotions can escalate matters quickly. The Robinowitz Law Firm, P.C., aims for workable resolutions in the best interests of your child, without surrendering your own best interests. Should your case end up in court, you have an experienced trial lawyer on your side.
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I offer more than 20 years of Texas family law experience, representing divorcing parents and never-married parents in all child custody and visitation issues. My Houston, Texas, law firm serves clients in Harris County, Galveston County, Montgomery County, Ft. Bend County, Brazoria County and surrounding areas. Contact me for a free consultation.
Child Custody In Texas
The presumption of Texas family courts is that both parents should have as much contact as possible with their children after divorce. The old terminology of “custody and visitation” has changed, but the issues are much the same. The judge will establish either:
- Joint managing conservatorship (JMC) — This gives one parent the exclusive right to determine primary residence of the child and exclusive right to receive child support, but both parents retain joint input on medical, educational and legal issues.
- Sole managing conservatorship (SMC) — This grants full custody to one parent, as when the other is in jail, chemically dependent or abusive to the child. The SMC parent makes all decisions on behalf of the child, but the other parent (possessory conservatorship) retains rights to visitation and information about the child’s education and welfare.
In a JMC, the nonprimary parent is granted a visitation possession order, and required to contribute child support, health insurance and other financial assistance until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school (whichever is later). In determining the primary conservator, the court applies a “best interests of the child” test. Access to quality schools, the parents’ employment and the child’s preference (if 12 years or older) all might be considered.
As your attorney, I help prepare you for the temporary possession, property and conservatorship hearings to put your best foot forward. After the temporary orders are established, we then proceed with discovery, negotiation, mediation and, if necessary, trial.
A court order that is too loose or lacking in detail, as well as one that is too restrictive or burdensome, will land you back in court at some point. My insights from years of practice enable me to strike the right balance to promote harmony in the interests of your kids. I will look carefully at the traditional issues, such as custody, child support and possession schedules, as well as specifically address any finer details in an attempt to save you both time and money. Such finer details include:
- Pick-up and delivery
- Division of nights and weekends
- Transportation and involvement in extracurricular activities
- Issues involving new spouses or significant others
- Domicile restriction in Texas
In establishing a JMC, the court typically places a domicile restriction on the primary parent. Most commonly, it prohibits that parent from relocating outside of Harris County (or Harris and its contiguous counties) with the children. In a common scenario, the woman moves to Texas to marry, but finds she cannot move back home with the kids after divorce, stuck here until the child turns 18. Modification hearings to petition for or contest relocations, even if primary custody was granted without regard to domicile, are sticky matters. However, if you retain a lawyer with a combination of skill, creativity and experience, the court may perhaps consider a departure from these general rules.
The Robinowitz Law Firm, P.C., has extensive knowledge of the law and is able to utilize veteran litigation skills in helping you with your domicile restriction hearing. Contact me today.