Month: March 2019

Child Custody in Texas: What does Custody Mean?

Child Custody Lawyer in Houston, Texas

Understanding the Terminology of Child Custody in Texas

If you are facing a divorce that involves children, it is only natural that you put their welfare and well being first. In fact, in such divorces, the elemental issue of dividing marital property comes second only to child custody arrangements. Many parents experience extreme anxiety over the issue of child custody throughout the divorce process, but understanding the lingo can help. The State of Texas employs its own unique set of terms as they relate to child custody, and these terms are more dry and officious sounding than they are warm and comforting. Once you have a feel for them, however, your anxiety is likely to be alleviated.

Texas and Child Custody Language

When you think about divorce and your children, you are no doubt concerned with what your child custody arrangements will be post-divorce. This is naturally your top priority, and before the issue is settled, the uncertainty is likely to cause consternation. The Texas Family Code does not address “custody” per se but, instead, concerns itself with “conservatorship.” While you are probably familiar with the term custody, conservatorship has an institutional sound that many parents find off-putting. If you can familiarize yourself with the term, however, it will make it that much easier for you to move forward confidently.

For your purposes, custody and conservatorship are interchangeable terms – don’t let the language throw you. You and your spouse are your children’s parents – and not their conservators. Conservatorship is simply a legal term that the State of Texas employs to help delineate who maintains the legal rights and responsibilities of raising the children involved. It is not meant as an indictment of your parenting, and it has no bearing on how you will continue to parent.

Conservatorship in Texas

Many divorcing parents fear the term “joint custody” because they think it means that their children will be shuttled back and forth between both parents’ homes equally and will not have one home base. This is not typically the case, and this fact also applies to conservatorship. In Texas, there are only two distinct kinds of conservatorship, and they include joint managing conservatorship (JMC) and sole managing conservatorship (SMC), which closely correspond to joint custody and sole custody. Joint custody doesn’t necessarily mean sharing parenting time equally between both parents, and neither does joint managing conservatorship necessarily mean sharing parenting time equally between both parents – in fact, it usually doesn’t. While the term joint managing conservatorship may not inspire confidence, likening it to joint custody should improve your level of comfort.

It’s important to understand that – as with sole custody – sole managing conservatorship is rare. In the overwhelming majority of cases, parents share the rights and responsibilities of parenting their children after divorce. Again, this is unlikely to mean that your children will divide their time equally between your two homes – there’s more to consider.

The Custodial and Noncustodial Parent

Within conservatorship, there is the custodial parent and the noncustodial parent. If you are determined to be the custodial parent, your home will be your children’s primary home and your ex will become the noncustodial parent. Your children’s noncustodial parent will have a visitation schedule with the kids and will most likely pay child support. Therefore, if you and your ex ultimately share JMC and you are the custodial parent, you will both share the rights and responsibilities of parenting but your children will reside primarily with you. The language is dry, but the meaning is fairly straightforward and will likely assuage your concerns.

The Court’s Concern: Child’s Best Interest

When it comes to conservatorship, the court’s concern is always what’s in the children’s best interests. All things being equal – or being relatively equal – the court’s presumption is that joint managing conservatorship is in the best interest of the children. And generally, this is true. Divorce is difficult adults, but it even more difficult for children. After all, the only family they have ever known is changing directions – and they have no say or power within the process. Having both parents closely involved in their lives helps children transition into their changed circumstances with less stress and anxiety and helps ensure a brighter future for all involved.

Your Divorce and Custody in Texas

Every Texas divorce comes with its own unique set of circumstances, and yours is no different in this regard. Working closely with your experienced Houston family law attorney will help you maintain a better understanding of the divorce process throughout. It’s important to remember that your dedicated attorney is on your side. This means that, if any of the terminology – at any time – gives you pause, he or she is there to discuss it with you. Divorce is complicated and very few people make it through without experiencing considerable stress and anxiety. These aren’t the best conditions within which to make important decisions about you and your children’s future, and no one expects you to be perfect. Go easy on yourself, and ask your lawyer for the help you need. If that includes some extra tutoring regarding Texas’s language of child custody, he or she is happy to help.

Readers also found our article, “Child Custody and Leaving the State before a Divorce” helpful.

If You Have Custody Concerns, an Experienced Houston Family Law Attorney Can Help

If you’re going through a divorce, you’re going through a lot, and your children are naturally your number one concern. While Texas does employ some arcane terminology when it comes to post-divorce parenting, this shouldn’t add to your anxiety. The dedicated family law attorneys at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, understand your trepidation and are here to help. Our experienced law team has the skill, knowledge, and compassion to work closely with you in aggressively advocating for what’s best for you and your children.

Your case is important to us, so please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 to schedule a free consultation today.

When to File for Divorce in Texas

Houston Divorce Lawyer

When Is the Best Time to Seek the Advice of a Divorce Attorney in Houston?

Although no two divorces are exactly alike, it is fair to say that if you are considering the possibility of a divorce or are facing an inevitable divorce, it’s time to consult with an experienced Houston divorce attorney. The fact is that it’s never too early to obtain professional legal counsel. Consulting with an attorney will help you better understand the divorce process and will provide you with critical information related to how best to protect your rights in your upcoming divorce – if it comes to that.

If You are Considering Filing for Divorce

If you are considering divorce, you have a reason for doing so. It’s important to remember that speaking with a divorce attorney does not necessarily mean that you are taking one step closer to an inevitable divorce – a step you may not feel ready to take. Instead, speaking with a knowledgeable Houston divorce lawyer will provide you with the opportunity to share your legal concerns with an objective and dispassionate sounding board. Divorce isn’t something that anyone takes lightly, and arming yourself with information will help provide you with the tools you need to make the best decision for you.

Don’t Ignore the Issues

If you are preparing to file for divorce or you believe your spouse might be, you may be inclined to ignore the situation until you no longer can. Doing so, however, is not in your best interests. Even a divorce that begins amicably can become very heated very quickly. Further, even the most straightforward divorce can be legally complicated, and putting off obtaining legal counsel puts you at a disadvantage.

Once your divorce gains momentum, it’s very likely that the stress inherent to the process will make it that much more difficult for you to make important decisions in the protection of your rights. While ignoring your impending divorce until you can no longer do so may buy you a bit of time in the run-up to divorce, it won’t do you any good in the long run. Schedule an appointment with an experienced Houston divorce lawyer today.

Your Personal Experience is Important

You have no doubt spoken to other people about their divorce experiences, and sharing in this way can help with the emotional upheaval that’s so closely associated with divorce. It’s important to recognize, however, that no two divorces are ever alike and that your divorce will follow its own unique path according to your own unique circumstances. Consulting with a divorce attorney early on will provide you with insight about what divorce is likely to mean for you. Because being forewarned is tantamount to being forearmed, obtaining a professional assessment regarding what your divorce will likely entail and how best to proceed can be invaluable and will give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are well informed and are proceeding with purpose.

Preparing to Move Forward with the Divorce Process

Preparation is often key to keeping divorce proceedings on track, and the earlier you begin to prepare, the better off you’ll be. Your divorce attorney will help you see the big picture and focus on what’s most important. Getting your financial documents and other important paperwork together early on can make all the difference. Once a divorce hits its stride, it can push perfectly reasonable people into doing extremely unreasonable things, which can include making it difficult for you to obtain the documents you need. It is almost always more expedient to gather the necessary information and documentation – and begin organizing it – at the outset. Your attorney will guide you in the process and will help alert you to potential pitfalls. Divorce is a legal process, and as such, organization is key.

If Your Spouse Has Already Filed for Divorce

If you have already been served with divorce papers, you may well be going through a bit of shock. You are almost certainly experiencing a variety of competing emotions that makes it difficult to know how best to proceed. Fortunately, you are not alone. A skilled legal professional will help you get a handle on the divorce process and will help carefully guide your case toward its best possible resolution. You are not expected to travel this rocky path on your own – nor are you advised to do so. Instead, your divorce lawyer will make sure that you understand the proceedings every step of the way and will help ensure that you are well prepared to make the important decisions that comprise your divorce case.

Moving Forward with Your Texas Divorce

Once your divorce papers have been filed, timelines come into play. Legal cases have rigid deadlines that must be observed. Missing deadlines or being poorly prepared can have dire consequences and will undoubtedly leave you at a distinct disadvantage. Working closely with a dedicated Houston divorce lawyer will give you a broader, better-informed view of what likely lies ahead; will help you prepare and organize yourself for the divorce process in Texas; and will help ensure that you remain timely within that process. While consulting with a divorce attorney is not a definitive signal that you are preparing to move forward with a divorce, it is the best way to protect yourself if you do decide that divorce is inevitable. If you are already facing a divorce, consult with a knowledgeable Houston divorce lawyer today.

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If You Are Considering Divorce, It’s Time to Consult with an Experienced Houston Divorce Lawyer

Only you know if divorce is right for you, but an experienced attorney will help you better understand your options and your best path forward if you ultimately decide to proceed with divorce. Divorce is difficult and involves a complicated legal process, but the dedicated divorce lawyers at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, are here to help. Our experienced legal team has the skill, knowledge, and compassion to help you find the answers that are right for you and to help you move forward with confidence. Your case matters, so please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 to schedule a free consultation today.