Child custody issues can be challenging and complex. Children only have one chance to be kids and grow up with a bright future ahead of them. Nurturing their growth and development is important and parents in divorce fear a disruption in their children’s lives. The Texas Family Code and courts are focused on the best interests of children and assurances they may grow up in stable and supportive environments.

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Where will the children live during the divorce?

Not long after a new divorce case is filed, the court will conduct the temporary orders hearing to make initial determinations about where the children will live, which parent may remain in the marital home and how certain finances will be handled. The judge will generally seek to assure a status quo in children’s lives during divorce and keep them their familiar home, school and community. The court considers a variety of factors in the best interests of the children.

If the parents can agree on who will live in the marital home with the children, then the judge will not need to make that decision at the temporary orders hearing, a decision that can be in place for up to a year or more until the divorce is settled by agreement or through a divorce trial.

What is joint managing conservatorship?

In Texas, custody is called conservatorship and there is a presumption that both parents should be joint managing conservators. However, if there are issues involving family violence, drug or alcohol abuse or that which threatens children’s health, safety or wellbeing, one parent may be designated as the sole managing conservator.

A parent with joint managing conservatorship has the authority to make decisions for a child about where they will live and go to school, religious training, medical and dental needs and everything else that goes along with daily living.

How is possession and access determined?

In Texas, visitation is referred to as possession and access to the child. The parents can agree to their own schedule of where the children will be and with which parent, or the court can use a standard possession order at the initial temporary orders hearing. The standard order gives what we may call the non-custodial parent possession and access for a few hours on Thursday evenings, and during the first, third and fifth weekends of the month, alternating holidays and for a month during the summer.

Possession refers to your time with the child in person and your right to have the child with you wherever you may be. Access, however refers to your right to contact your child by phone, text, social media and so forth. You also have access to attend school activities and have access to school and healthcare records.

For information about Texas divorce and family law please call Attorney Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas by dialing (940) 691-2100.

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Richard T. Sutherland represents people and families in Wichita County, Archer County, Baylor County, Clay County, Foard County, Hardeman County, Jack County, Montague County, Wise County, Young County and Wilbarger Counties in North Texas and has accepted cases in other areas West, North-Central and in South Texas.


Child custody issues in a Texas divorce