Experienced And Compassionate Guidance For Difficult Family Matters

Supporting Parents And Families In Brazoria County

Many parents worry that divorce will impact their close relationship with their child. Thankfully, you can take steps to protect your parental rights and your connection to your child.

The Richmond Law Firm, PLLC, offers caring and experienced support to parents navigating questions of child custody and visitation. No matter their situation or the needs of their child, attorney Lacey N. Richmond is dedicated to helping parents reach arrangements that sustain a strong parent-child relationship and ensure that their child has the guidance and financial support they need as they grow.

What is “Conservatorship”?

“Custody” is a term that is commonly used to describe “conservatorship” of a child. Conservatorship dictates the rights and duties of each parent.The Texas Family Code provides that the parents should be appointed as “joint managing conservators” of a child in most cases, though this presumption can be overcome if there is evidence that such an order would not be in the child’s best interest.

The term “joint conservatorship” is often misunderstood to mean that each parent has possession of the child half of the time. This is not correct. Parties can be named “joint managing conservators” of a child, and one parent still be the primary parent with whom the child lives.

In Texas, the “primary parent” or “primary conservator” is identified in an order as the parent with “the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child.”

Just because one parent has “the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child” does not mean that the other parent cannot be involved in important decision-making rights regarding the child. The parties can agree, and the court can order, that both parents be involved in important decisions for the children (e.g., medical, psychological, psychiatric, educational).

We encourage you to contact us for a free 15-minute consultation to discuss your case.

What Factors Influence Conservatorship?

When determining what conservatorship arrangement is right for a family, the court will consider what is in the best interest of the child. This can involve many different details about a child’s life, including:

  • The child’s preference
  • The parents’ preference
  • The physical and emotional needs of the child
  • The skills and abilities of the parents
  • The resources available to each parent that could help them provide for the child
  • The involvement, or lack thereof, of the parents in decisions made for the child
  • History of domestic violence between the parties or towards the child

The court may also consider other details that are relevant to the family’s unique situation.

In many cases, parents can reach a custody arrangement through an alternative dispute resolution option like mediation. Unfortunately, parents sometimes need an advocate who will fight for their parental rights and the needs of their child. Attorney Lacey N. Richmond helps parents explore all of their options, whether bringing compassion and knowledge to the negotiating table or tenaciously representing your interests in court.

Can Orders for Conservatorship Change?

Sometimes, life changes can limit a parent’s ability to respect the terms of the existing parenting plan. These events could include moving to a new city, significant changes to the parent’s work schedule, or changes in the child’s needs. When circumstances change enough that the current order is no longer in the child’s best interests, either parent can ask the court to modify the terms of the order.

If you and your co-parent are able to negotiate the changes to your child custody or visitation order, you can work together to create a new plan and file for court approval. However, you can still file for a modification even if your co-parent does not agree to those changes, and the court will decide what is in your child’s best interest.

What Visitation Should A Non-Primary Parent Have?

In Texas, we have a possession schedule called a “Standard Possession Order” that provides the non-primary parent with substantial visitation time with the child.  This includes first, third, and fifth weekends of the month, extended summer visits, and holiday time.

The Standard Possession Order is the most commonly ordered visitation schedule for the non-primary parent, as the Texas Family Code provides that it is presumed to be the schedule that is in the best interest of the child. However, the court can order an alternative schedule for the child if the court deems that the Standard Possession Order is not appropriate. For example, a customized schedule may be ordered for a child under the age of three years.

Call Richmond Law Firm, PLLC, For Personalized Guidance

The right guidance can be vital when supporting your child and protecting your parental rights. Attorney Lacey N. Richmond offers insights at every stage of determining child custody. Call my office at (281) 547-0171 or click here to schedule a consultation online.