Serving Rockwall and Dallas Counties
Going through a divorce is frustrating enough, but it can be especially stressful when you have a child. At one point during the divorce process, you and your spouse must decide on child custody. This is often one of the most difficult topics as it involves your child’s future and your relationship with your child. In addition, the environment your child is raised can have both short-term and long-term effects on his or her life.
The courts will typically decide on custody arrangements by looking at:
- Emotional ties between the parents and child
- Ability of parents to care for the child
- History of violence or abuse (including substance abuse)
- Health and age of child
- Work hours and other activities of parents and child
Barring extreme situations, both parents in Texas are typically appointed Joint Managing Conservators of their children. Although used on television, “joint custody” is not a legal term. Being a Joint Managing Conservator has nothing to do with how often you each see your children or what specific rights you have to your children.
By agreement or ruling by the Court, your final order will contain provisions laying out (1) your respective rights and duties as parents (such as the right to consent to medical treatment), (2) provisions for possession and access of your children, and (3) support for your children including their medical insurance needs. Your order will contain a provision that provides that possession and access of your children can always be by agreement but that should the two parents be unable to agree, then the possession schedule specifically laid out in the order will apply. Recognizing that it is the default should you be unable to work with the other parent is important to always remember.
Mediation vs. Trial
Prior to final trial regarding contested issues relating to children, most every judge in Texas will require you to attempt to resolve the matter through mediation. Mediation is a very effective process where all parties and lawyers set aside 4-8 or more hours to attempt to resolve the matter. Typically, each parent and their lawyer stay in separate rooms and the mediator goes back and forth between them to resolve the case. This process is highly effective at helping parties maintain control of their family and reach an agreement that works best for their children and selves. If an agreement is reached at mediation, the Court is obligated by law to enter judgment on the agreement and the agreement is binding upon both parties. Mediation is also significantly more cost-effective than final trial and parents usually feel more comfortable with the outcome they helped formulate rather than an order dictated to them by the Judge.
Keeping Families Together
Eaker Law Firm, PC is committed to helping you find a solution that is best for you and your child. As divorced parents ourselves, we understand your desire to raise your child in a safe and welcoming environment. Our divorce attorney has extensive training in collaborative law and mediation as well as litigation to get you the results that you want and that’s best for your family.
Contact our office to discuss your goals with our child custody lawyer.