Top 5 Child Custody Q&As in Texas

Top 5 Child Custody Q&As in Texas

Stephanie Cortes
 | 
According to Kids Count Data Center, there were around 1,898,630 children living in Texas who reside in single-parent families. Family law courts highly encourage co-parenting with-out a court order, however, this may not always be possible.

Either parent can file a request for child custody and visitation orders in the Texas family court. The two types of custody that may be requested are Legal and Physical. The custody options include sole or joint custody.

Both have the right to make decisions for the children and share parenting time, except in the cases that the parent endangers the children. The court will always make orders regarding the child by determining what is in their best interest. 

The process of obtaining child custody orders can feel overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect. Here are answers to child custody related questions in Texas.

How can I obtain child custody orders in Texas?

Before receiving orders, Texas courts will ask parents to file a “Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Enforcement Act” form that provides a list of the children’s home addresses within the past few years. This form will help the Texas court determine if they have  jurisdiction to hear the case and make orders. Jurisdiction is applied to the state and district of the children’s home residence.

Child custody orders may become more difficult to request if the child has lived in different states because the Texas court may not obtain jurisdiction. This policy is implemented to avoid parents escaping from orders made in another state.

If  there is a family law case already open, the parent may also request to add child custody orders or modify existing orders with the same case number. To modify child custody orders, there must a change in circumstances. 

How does the Texas court decide child custody orders?

When deciding custody and visitation orders, the Texas court will consider what is in the best interest of the children by using the following Holley Factors

 
  • the desires of the children, depending on maturity
  • the children's emotional and physical needs at the present and in the future
  • the absence of emotional and physical danger to the children at the present and in the future
  • the parent is involved with the developmental needs of the children
  • the parent’s participation in programs that support the children’s needs
  • the plans for the children by the parent requesting orders
  • the stability and safety of the children’s proposed home
  • Any acts that indicate an existing parent-child relationship that is not proper
  • Any acts that neglect the acts that indicate and improper parent child-relationship

If the parents are not able to agree on a parenting plan, Texas family courts may ask them to attend mediation or appoint a custody evaluator to represent the best interest of the child. 

How will child custody orders impact child support?

Both parents are required to care for the children’s needs. Non-custodial parents are ordered to provide the custodial parent with financial support for the children that do not live with them. 

Texas court determines the monthly payment by calculating the parenting time and net income. You may use the Monthly Child Support Calculator on Texas’ website to estimate the amount.

If the child custody order has been modified, the paying parent may request that the child support be changed as well to reflect the new parenting time.

For additional child support questions, contact Texas’ Child Support Division at (800) 252-8014.

Can a custody order from another state be enforced in Texas?

Yes. Texas courts generally recognize and enforce child custody orders from another state. They will determine jurisdiction through the UCCJEA forms filed by the parents.

Child custody orders may also be registered in Texas as a supporting way to enforce it. According to TexasLawHelp.com, the following documents must be sent to the correct family court district in Texas:
  • A letter requesting registration
  • Two copies. One should be the certified copy of the order from another state.
  • A signed statement under penalty of perjury informing the court that to the best of your knowledge and belief, the order has not been changed.
  • Your name and address as well as the other party’s name and address on the case

Can I get custody orders if I am not the child’s parent?

Yes.

If there is not an existing child custody court order, non-parents may file a custody case known as a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship. If there is a case opened, then non-parents may request the Texas family court to modify the order.

In some circumstances, parents may sign an Authorization Agreement for Nonparent Relative or Voluntary Caregiver forms to authorize an indvidual to make decisions for the children. Unlike a court order, this type of agreement can be revoked at any time by the parents.

Seeking custody orders can be overwhelming. It is vital that the children’s best intrest are being represented. A Texas experienced family law attorney can explain state specific laws, your parenting rights, and custody options.



This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.
Stephanie Cortes

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