Galveston Child Support & Custody Lawyers
Helping Clients Create Solid Legal Arrangements
Parents want to protect their children’s emotional, physical, and mental well-being, but simultaneously make sure that their own rights are neither infringed upon nor damaged.
Here at The Law Offices and Mediation Center of Susan M. Edmonson, we are sensitive to the importance of carefully balancing the needs of both children and parents. Our Galveston child support and custody attorneys are empathetic to your cause and determined to aggressively defend you in court. We want to preserve the relationship between you and the other parent if possible, but most of all uphold the best interests of you and your children.
Call (409) 239-0100 or contact us online so that our compassionate family law attorneys can support all of your questions regarding child custody and child support. Visit our divorce lawyer reviews to see why clients choose our Galveston family law firm.
Child Custody in the State of Texas
In Texas, custody is referred to as conservatorship. Parents may fight for sole conservatorship or joint conservatorship. Unless there are specific reasons not to do so, the courts will nearly always opt for joint conservatorship.
Unless one parent has a history of domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, or has been absent for extended periods of time, joint conservatorship is preferable as it is considered to be in the best interest of the child. This form of custody means parents jointly decide on issues like education, medical care, and religious upbringing. Physical custody is nearly always awarded to one parent, based on what is best for the child.
How Is Custody Determined?
In determining custodianship, there are several elements that the court will consider. Some of the primary factors include:
- The child’s preference, so long as they are aged 12 and older (this is not the ultimate deciding factor, however)
- The parents’ wishes and desires, along with evidence of their ability to parent effectively
- The emotional, physical, and mental health of both the parents as well as the children
- The child’s current home and school environment, as well as the child’s ability to adapt to new environments
- Any potential negative history or background of the parents, such as abuse, domestic violence, or any other criminal misconduct
How to File for Child Custody in Texas
You can file for custody in Galveston, Texas, by completing the following steps:
Gather the necessary documents - Collect important documents such as:
The child's birth certificate
Previous custody orders
Any relevant medical or school records
File the initial custody petition - Prepare and file the initial custody petition with the court. Provide detailed information about yourself, your child, your child's other parent, and the desired custody arrangement.
Serve the other parent with a copy of the petition - Ensure that the other parent is properly served with a copy of the custody petition and related documents, following the specific service requirements set by the court.
Attend court hearings with your Galveston custody attorney - Attend the scheduled court hearings or conferences related to the custody case. Your lawyer will help you present your case and provide evidence to support your request for custody.
Present evidence to the judge - If an agreement is not reached through mediation or negotiations, be prepared to present evidence to support your position regarding the child's best interests, including factors such as:
The child's relationship with each parent
Each parents' living arrangements
The ability to provide for their physical and emotional needs
Comply with all court orders - If the court issues a custody order, it is essential to comply with the terms outlined. Failure to follow court orders can have legal consequences and may impact future custody decisions.
Is It Easy to Get 50/50 Custody in Texas?
Getting 50/50 custody in Texas is not easy. Texas courts prefer parents to create their arrangements rather than go through a trial. However, many judges in Texas won't agree to a 50/50 co-parenting schedule. The focus is making custody arrangements that serve the child's best interests in Texas. Joint custody is shared, but it may not necessarily entail a precisely equal division of time.
Navigating the process of filing for custody in Texas can be complex, and it is highly recommended to seek the guidance of an experienced child custody attorney in Galveston. This is extremely important when pursuing the best outcome for you and your child.
Child Support in the State of Texas
Child support is typically paid by the parent who does not have physical custody of the child or children of the marriage. There are very specific guidelines laid down by the court based on the net income of each parent. In general, parents who earn less than $7,500 per month are expected to contribute a minimum of 20 percent of their net income as child support and provide health insurance for the children. These payments typically continue until the child reaches age 18. The guidelines are adhered to unless the court has a valid reason for not following the standard guidelines.
- Related: Job/Income Changes & Child Support
What Are Guidelines For Child Support In Texas
Child support in Texas is typically paid by the non-custodial parent based on net income guidelines set by the court. Generally, those earning less than $7500/month are expected to contribute 20% of their net income towards support and provide health insurance. Payments continue until the child reaches the age of 18, unless there is a valid reason for not following the standard guidelines.
What is Joint Custody?
Joint Custody refers to a Joint Managing Conservatorship (JMC) which is a legal term that means both parents are awarded almost all of the rights, duties, and privileges of a parent over their children. One parent is awarded the right to determine where the children live and is given the right to receive Child Support. This parent is often referred to as the “primary” joint managing conservator. JMC does not necessarily mean that there will be an exact, even split of the children’s time between the parents.
The Courts in Texas typically order either a Standard Possession Order, which allows for every other weekend visits, or an “Expanded” Standard Possession Order, which increases the length of the visits allowed. If you are a Joint Managing Conservator of your children and feel as though you are not being allowed enough access to them, contact our Galveston child custody attorneys as soon as possible so they may begin the process of either enforcing the Order in place or modifying the Order to allow for more time with your children.
Understanding the Benefits of Co-Parenting
Co-parenting is an arrangement that allows both parents to share in the responsibilities of raising their child or children after a divorce or separation. This approach can be a positive alternative to traditional custody battles, and it can help alleviate some of the emotional stress that children often experience during these challenging times.
At The Law Offices and Mediation Center of Susan M. Edmonson, we believe that co-parenting can provide numerous benefits for families, including:
- Reduced conflict between parents
- Increased stability and consistency for children
- Lower legal costs and reduced stress
- Greater flexibility and control over parenting decisions
- Improved communication and cooperation between parents
We understand that co-parenting may not be the right solution for every family, and we are committed to helping our clients find the best possible outcome for their unique situation. Our experienced family law attorneys and mediators can provide compassionate guidance and legal representation to help you make informed decisions about your child custody case.
Offering Reliable Counsel & Passionate Representation
Determining child support and custody can be the most emotional, stressful challenge you face in the aftermath of divorce. Depend on our Galveston child support attorney at The Law Offices and Mediation Center of Susan M. Edmonson to help you through this trial.