Strategies to Improve Your Custody Chances as a Mom
When your marriage isn’t working and divorce appears to be the best option, there’s nothing more important than your relationship and time with your children. You want a custody arrangement that allows you to be a meaningful part of their lives, where you can be actively involved in their growth and development and can establish a long-term bond.
How Is Custody Determined in Texas?
Under Texas law, the term parent is considered to be neutral—the court will not give priority or preference to the father or the mother, but will make a decision that is “in the best interests of the child.” Instead, there’s a presumption under Texas law that the best interests of the child will be served if the child is co-parented.
Texas has replaced the term “custody” with the designation “managing conservatorship.” The Texas family law courts generally presume that parents of minor children in a divorce will be “joint managing conservators,” sharing the rights and responsibilities of bringing up the children. That presumption, however, may be rebutted by either party.
Though the court will often prefer to award the parents a joint managing conservatorship, it’s also common that the minor children spend a greater percentage of their time with one parent, typically referred to as the “custodial” parent. The non-custodial parent is then awarded access to the minor children (formerly known as “visitation”) and is customarily ordered to pay child support.
How Can a Parent Get Primary Custody/Managing Conservatorship in Texas?
If both parents agree, primary custody can be awarded to one parent, though the family judge may conduct a hearing to verify that there’s no coercion or other wrongful conduct. If the parties cannot agree regarding primary custody, the court will render a decision that it believes to be in the best interests of the minor child. There’s a common perception that the court will give priority to the mother in these situations, but that’s simply not true. Whether you are the mother or father seeking sole or primary custody, you must produce evidence to convince the court to grant your request.
How Can You Improve Your Chances as a Mother of Getting Primary or Sole Custody?
The key to getting the custody/managing conservatorship arrangement you want is to remember that the court’s decision will be based on the best interests of the child. You must introduce evidence that demonstrates that the child’s welfare and well-being will best be served by living primarily or exclusively with you. Here are some tips for making that case:
- Ask for an “in-home” evaluation—The court will appoint someone to evaluate living conditions at both parents’ homes
- Cooperate with your ex as much as possible—The court won’t look kindly upon any conflict or disparagement you create with your ex
- Comply with all orders or requests from the court—Don’t let the judge feel like you are being uncooperative
- Let your words and actions show that you give priority to the best interests of your children—That may involve either staying put or moving so that your child’s school or social life is minimally affected
Contact the Experienced Family Law Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. To speak with a proven child custody/managing conservatorship attorney, Contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.