While most people use the terms “full custody” or “sole custody,” those are not actual legal terms in Texas. There is a presumption that all separated parents shall be named Joint Managing Conservators which means they share equal rights and duties to their children.
Within that umbrella title, generally one parent will have the exclusive right to determine the child’s primary residence (we refer to this parent as the “Primary Parent”). The child will live primarily with this parent and attend school based upon this parent’s residence. The court will typically limit the area where the child can live which is referred to as a Geographic Restriction. Once a geographic restriction is put into place, they can be very difficult to modify in the future.
The other, non-primary parent, will generally have a Standard Possession Schedule with the child, pay child support, and provide monthly health insurance for the child.
While there are some standard guidelines in place, not all families are the same, and there are ways to come to agreements or have the court make orders that either increase the amount of time a parent has with the children or lessen the amount of time, based on varying circumstances.
Even when parties are amicable or potentially have already come up with an agreement, it is essential to seek competent counsel to help with the drafting and finalization of the legal paperwork. Once a Final Decree has been entered it can be very costly and sometimes impossible to fix problems that arise later on. When the parties do not believe they will be able to agree on how they will divide their property, or about the custody and support of their children, it can be imperative in those cases especially to take a proactive and aggressive approach from the start.
Often at the beginning of the case, parties have immediate issues that need to be dealt with such as who is going to remain in the home, who is going to pay what bills, or who the children are going to primarily reside with. These are all issues that can be dealt with through a Temporary Orders Hearing. This is a hearing, which typically occurs within the first 14 to 30 days of a case being filed. A Temporary Orders Hearing can be very contentious and can set the entire framework for how your case will unfold as these orders will often be in place until an agreement is reached or a Final Trial occurs, which can be 9 months to a year (sometimes much longer due to the Court's pandemic backlog) after filing. It is imperative to retain a proactive and aggressive lawyer as early on in your case as possible to fight for you and obtain the most favorable orders regarding your children and property.
While appearing in court for your divorce can be extremely stressful and costly, at Dally & Webb, PLLC, we realize that sometimes a hearing or trial is inevitable. We will do our best to guide you through this difficult process and be an effective and zealous advocate for you and your family both in and out of the courtroom.
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