Montgomery County Child Custody Lawyer
Skilled Advocates with Decades of Experience Representing Parents and Children
Are you in the midst of a child custody battle in Montgomery County? Are you facing an adversarial parent disputing over your right to spend time with the children? Whatever your child custody issue, Steinmann Law Firm is here to help. Our child custody lawyers have been representing parents and children in court for decades. We also have significant experience facilitating resolutions through mediation. As a result, you can count on us to help you work towards a favorable child custody arrangement that meets your interests as a parent and the needs of your child.
Schedule an initial consultation with Steinmann Law Firm today for more information on how to navigate your child custody case. Helping families in Conroe, the Woodlands, and Bentwater, TX.
Managing Conservatorship and Possessory Conservatorship
Parents in Texas are offered two forms of custody, or “conservatorship”:
- Managing conservatorship (legal custody) – refers to a parent’s role in making legal decisions for the child, such as medical treatment, education, and cultural and religious upbringing
- Possessory conservatorship (physical custody) – refers to when the child will stay with each parent and/or whether the parent with whom the child is not living should have access to the child (visitation)
Texas law presumes that joint managing conservatorship is the best option unless it is not in the child’s best interests (below). In such a case, particularly if one parent has an alcohol or substance abuse problem, the other parent may be appointed the sole conservator.
The Standard Possession Order
Both parents can discuss between themselves a schedule for when the child will spend time and/or reside with each of them. If they cannot agree on a schedule, Texas law will provide a “standard possession order” that establishes a schedule for parenting time. The specific terms of the order will depend on the distance between the parents and may not apply to infants younger than 3 years old.
In some situations, the court may deem a standard possession order not to be appropriate for the child’s or parent’s safety. For instance, the court may issue a “supervised possession order” instead for a parent who poses a danger due to drinking habits. Under a supervised order, the child will spend time with the parent while supervised by a third party.
How Long Does a Child Custody Case Take in Texas?
Typically, an uncontested child custody case in Texas could take only a couple of months or less, or the process can take over a year. Texas child custody cases depend entirely on whether both parents can reach an agreement and how fast that occurs.
The Best Interest of the Child
The court’s primary consideration for deciding the child custody arrangement is whether the order meets the child’s best interests, which includes factors like:
- the child's present and future physical and emotional needs;
- the stability of the home(s) or proposed home(s);
- each parent’s parental abilities;
- the programs available to assist each parent to promote the best interests of their child;
- each parent’s plans for the child;
- any present and future physical and emotional danger to the child;
- the child's wishes;
- any actions or failures to act that may indicate that the parents don't have a proper parent-child relationship; and
- any excuse the parents may have for the above actions or failures to act.
Understandably, circumstances change as the child grows up. Both parents have the right to request a change to their conservatorship or possession order by filing a “Petition to Modify the Parent-Child Relationship.” Not every request for modification will be approved; the court will only permit a modification if doing so will better meet the child’s best interests and at least one of the following is true:
- the circumstances of the child, a conservator, or another person affected by the order have “materially and substantially” changed since the date of the current order or the date of signing the settlement agreement the current order is based on (whichever is earlier);
- the child is at least 12 years old and has expressed a preference to the court as to who should have the exclusive right to designate their primary residence; or
- the child's current primary custodial parent has voluntarily relinquished the primary care and possession of the child to someone else for at least 6 months.
If you are dealing with child custody issues in Montgomery County, do not hesitate to enlist legal assistance. Our custody lawyers at Steinmann Law Firm can take a closer look at your case to determine a legal strategy that meets your goals as a parent and your child’s needs – especially according to the court’s standards.
Contact Steinmann Law Firm for an initial consultation to discuss your child custody case in more detail. Let’s assert your parental rights and protect your parent-child relationship.
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