Child Custody in Texas: How Long is the Process?


The subject of getting custody for children usually arises when a couple is going through or already filed a divorce. Parents should act on their responsibilities in raising their children. Below are some details on what you are about to go through while arranging a child custody case.

Filing for Custody

The parent planning to request custody must file it in the home state of the child. The home state applies to where the child has been living for six months with the parent/guardian.

It is legal for a parent to file for custody without a lawyer. However, hiring one will make the process faster. Additionally, an experienced family lawyer can assist by explaining further how the case will go about.

Are there Different Kinds of Child Custody?

It is stated in Title 5, Chapter 153 of the Texas Family Code that child custody issues are divided into two different categories when it comes to Texas law. The first one is called conservatorship which involves the fundamental rights and duties of a parent, like decisions when it comes to education, medical concerns, and many more. If only one parent is appointed to make all the decisions, it falls under Sole Managing Conservatorship. In contrast, Joint Managing Conservatorship refers to both parents who are assigned to make all the decisions.

The second category is called possession and access, wherein the parents have visitation rights or have physical custody of the children. In Texas, this category has two schedules, namely standard and extended standard. These indicate how long each parent can spend with their children.

The decision of the ruling above will be based on the best interest of the child. Their age, physical well-being, the level of involvement of each parent with the child, the relationship of the child with his/her siblings, and the environment at home are among other relevant things the court considers.

Verdict of The Judge

Child custody cases can last a couple of weeks. They can also last longer depending on both parents’ negotiation process. It depends on how the judge will go about the case.

If the child already reaches the age of 12 or older, a judge may have to interview the child. This is to acknowledge concerns and determine which parent the child wishes to live with. However, if the child is below 12 years old, it’s optional for the judge to push through with an interview.

Before the judge strikes the gavel to the block, the concerned parties must set other arrangements in stone depending on which kind of child custody is taking place. The final agreement should have clear and concrete guidelines regarding the visitation schedules, covering the expenses for education, health, and other needs. The decision will be based on how smooth both parties will cooperate.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at timothy.hutton@austintexaslegal.com

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