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Child Custody & Visitation

Child Custody & Visitation in Texas

The best interests of sons and daughters come first in all areas of divorce. In custody and visitation agreements, we combine that emphasis with a focus on the rights of our clients. At W. Tyler Moore, PC, our family law attorney is a skilled and seasoned Houston-based trial lawyer who does not shy away from the courtroom. He sees value in negotiation, both in terms of money and control.

Attending to every detail in a divorce is paramount. At W. Tyler Moore, PC, our founder employs all resources toward securing the best outcome for you and your children. Relationships must continue beyond a divorce and any disruptions should be minimal. The well-being and peace of mind of your children are at stake, especially when disputes involving interstate custody and foreign custody under the Hague Convention arise.

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Texas does not recognize the term "full custody" regarding children. Rather, the Family Code speaks in terms of "conservatorship" and the allocation of parental rights between the parents. Rights may be held exclusively by one parent, held independently by both parents or shared.

Of all parental rights, the most important is the right to designate the primary residence of the child, the right to receive child support and the right to primary possession. Those three rights are the keys in a custody matter.

The Family Code has a statutory presumption, a "standard possession order" of what constitutes appropriate possession for children over the age of 3. Courts use the standard possession order as a template, which may be modified, for possession orders.

If a child is under 3, there is no standard possession order recognized by family law courts. There are examples of possession orders used by custody and family law attorneys, which may or may not be appropriate for use in a particular case. Those examples do provide insight on possibilities for possession of young children. Not all parents are the same. Not all young children are the same.

Negotiating a child custody and visitation schedule presents challenges, particularly in a state the size of Texas. Geographical restrictions may involve the child living in a certain county or counties surrounding that location. However, the distance in miles from the south end of one to the north end of another is often excessive.

Geographic restrictions on where a child may live may be imposed by a court if they are in the best interest of a child. If one parent insists on a geographic restriction, that may happen if the parent has been active in rearing the child and shows an interest in the child. These restrictions have been upheld by Texas appellate courts.

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The key factor to be considered by a family law court in all matters affecting a child is "the best interest" of the child. That is a legal term with many elements.

Mediation allows you to take control of both the decision-making process and the legal fees involved in a divorce action. Trials take time and money. Negotiations give you the power to make mutually beneficial decisions for you, your ex and your children.

To schedule an initial consultation with an experienced Houston child custody attorney, fill out our intake form or call W. Tyler Moore, PC, at 713-322-3950.