There are many legal issues to navigate during a divorce. One that can often be contentious involves child custody matters.
It is important to note that many family law matters fall within state law. As a result, the answers to questions can vary depending on the state you reside. The answers in this piece are geared specifically towards those going through a divorce in Texas.
Is there a presumption that the mother gets custody of the children? One common question when going through a child custody dispute is whether courts automatically grant custody to the mother. In previous generations, there was often a presumption that the mother would receive custody of the children. This is no longer the case.
In most situations, the courts encourage both parents to be actively involved in the children’s lives. This is referred to as a joint managing conservatorship in Texas.
Are there situations where one parent gets custody? Yes, there are still some situations when one parent will receive full custody of the children. In Texas, this is generally referred to as a sole managing conservatorship.
How does the court decide which parent gets the kids? If the parents cannot come up with an agreement, the court will use a legal standard referred to as the best interest of the child standard.
This standard takes a number of factors into consideration and the factors can vary depending on the state. Some of the factors taken into consideration in Texas include whether there was a history of abuse with either parent and the presence of a safe, stable and nonviolent environment for the child.
As noted above, the courts proceed with a presumption towards joint managing conservatorship. However, the courts will move forward with a sole managing conservatorship if it is in the best interests of the child.
These are just three of the many legal issues that can arise in this one portion of the divorce. Additional issues regarding child support payments and asset distribution can also be contentious. As a result, those who are going through a divorce are wise to seek legal counsel.