We don’t have to mention the complexities of parenting. Everyone knows how challenging raising children can be. Not to mention the fact that attempting to find your feet as a parent after separating from your other half adds a whole new set of challenges to parenthood. The reality of it is that in some situations, getting full custody in Texas is your best option when it comes to protecting and raising your kids. But how does a mother or father win full child custody in Texas? The Jimenez Law Firm is here to help you understand the process.
Texas Parental Rights
Before we get into it. It’s important to understand that the term “full custody” doesn’t exist under the Texas Family Code, even though it’s widely used. Generally, when people mention “full custody” they’re referring to the parent with whom the children live during the school week. This is understood to be primary custody in the state of Texas.
In addition, the term “full custody” is often used when the other parent has terminated or relinquished their parental rights. Upon occasion, “full custody” is used in place of the terms “sole managing conservatorship” during which the other parent has supervised custody. For the purposes of this custody guide, we’ll view the term “full custody” to mean “sole managing conservatorship.”
That being said, under Texas law, parents typically have the right to have some degree of physical possession of their own child. Parents also generally have the right to participate when it comes to making educational, health, moral, legal, religious, relationship, and residential decisions for their child. On top of this, each parent has multiple duties to provide care and support to their children.
In Texas, when parents divorce or separate, the law ideally prefers the parents to share parental rights and responsibilities. In reality, this isn’t always a possibility. When sharing custody isn’t an option for you and your child or children, there are some ways you can get sole custody.
How to Get Sole Custody in Texas
The law in Texas covers two kinds of custody. These custody types are physical custody and legal custody. Officially, under Texas law, physical custody is also known as a possessory conservatorship whereas legal custody is known as a managing conservatorship. If you have sole physical custody of your child, then you are the possessory conservator, and your child or children live with you full time. If you have sole legal custody, you are the sole managing conservator and you have the exclusive right to make decisions regarding your child or children. This includes decisions regarding:
- Location of residence
- Use of child support payments
- Legal issues regarding the child
- Apply for and manage travel documents for the child
- Consent to marriage or military service
- Utilizing the child’s earnings and services
It’s possible to fight for either one or both of these types of child custody. Once you decide what type of custody you’re fighting for, you’ll want to decide the best way to file.
Filing for Full Custody in Texas
The Texas family court system has two paths when it comes to winning full custody. You can either file for sole custody or you can file to terminate the rights of the other parent.
The best thing to do is work with a family law attorney well-versed in Texas law. If you’re getting a divorce, they can also help you with your divorce papers. But even unmarried parents can benefit from the expertise of family lawyers. Child custody lawyers know the ins and outs of Texas custody laws. They can walk you through all the paperwork and help you understand the differences between sole and joint custody. They can also help you navigate visitation rights, temporary orders, parental alienation, and help you be prepared for your custody battle.
Here at the Jimenez Law Firm, we know that your custody case impacts your child’s life. We’ll take your child custody case seriously and provide the legal advice you need to get you through the process.
Fighting for Sole Custody in Texas
In order to be awarded sole custody in Texas, you’re required to prove that sole custody is in your child’s best interest. The court will review many factors including:
- The child’s specific needs
- Relevant abusive behavior history from either parent
- Relevant history of neglect from either parent
- Relevant history of violence from either parent
Your lawyer can help you gather and organize any records or statements for evidence. This should include information regarding your child’s unique needs and how the other parent is not meeting these needs.
Fighting to Terminate Parental Rights
Fighting to terminate the rights of the other parent requires that the filing parent meets a different burden of proof than they need when filing for sole custody. The state views this as a drastic measure. Unfortunately, in some situations it’s necessary. The State of Texas does not take the termination of parental rights lightly. The filing parent must prove that the other parent has done the following:
- Abandoned the child
- Caused serious injury or death to a child
- Committed certain criminal offenses
- Endangered the child
- Engaged in certain types of substance abuse
- Neglected the child
- Or had their parental rights to another child terminated due to endangerment
In this case, evidence generally is more than just statements or notes. Often, you’ll need police reports, court documents, medical records, protection orders, and testimonies that prove the other parent has committed one of the above acts. This is a high standard to fill. However, if the child’s other parent has done one or more of these things, then skilled child custody lawyers should be able to help you meet this burden of proof.
The Jimenez Law Firm is Here to Help You Through Your Custody Disputes
Don’t wait to take action when it comes to the custody of your child or children. If you’re seeking sole custody rights of your children, then our attorneys are standing by to help you through your custody battles.