Child Custody Lawyer Assisting Clients in Bedford, Texas, and Surrounding Areas
When you are going through a divorce, concern for your children is most likely at the top of your mind. Who will be the child or children’s primary caregiver and where they will live the majority of the time are huge questions that often cause conflict between divorcing spouses. Whenever possible, it is best for parents to come to mutual agreements about child custody, visitation, and child support. This may take some negotiation, and a skilled family law attorney can be of great help. If an agreement cannot be reached, then the matter will go to court, and, again, an experienced family law attorney can be of assistance.
Anita K. Cutrer, Attorney at Law, is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has practiced Family Law for more than 20 years. Ms. Cutrer brings all of the experience and knowledge she has gained in two decades of working with Tarrant County families to every case she works on, bringing child custody and other family law matters to the most favorable resolution possible.
Contact Anita K. Cutrer, Attorney at Law, today at 817-854-1651 to get answers to your child custody questions.
What are the Types of Child Custody in Texas?
There are two types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. Texas law refers to these as possession and access (physical custody) and conservatorship (legal custody). Possession and access refer to who will have the children living with them most of the time and when the other parent can visit and spend time with the children. Conservatorship refers to the rights of the parents to make important decisions about the children’s lives, such as those regarding schooling, religious upbringing, medical care, and psychiatric care, among others.
In Texas, Conservatorship may be granted to just one parent (Sole Managing Conservatorship) or to both parents, who will then make the decisions jointly (Joint Managing Conservatorship).
Texas has two possession and access schedules defined in the law: standard and extended standard schedules, which determine the amount of time each parent spends with the child. It is possible, however, for the parents to agree on different possession and access schedules, or the court can order a different schedule. Departing from the two defined schedules, whether by agreement of both parents or by court order, must be driven by the best interests of the children involved.
What is the Standard Child Custody Schedule in Texas?
While parents can agree on a possession and access schedule that differs from the standard schedule defined in Texas law, this schedule is considered if the parents cannot come to an agreement.
The Texas Standard Possession Order laid out in Texas law is often awarded by the judge if the parents cannot agree on a suitable child custody and visitation schedule on their own. It requires that the noncustodial parent has possession of the children on the first, third, and fifth weekends of the month, beginning on Friday at either the time school lets out or 6:00 p.m. and ending on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. This schedule also states that the noncustodial parent will have child visitation every Thursday, beginning at either the time that school lets out or 6:00 p.m. and ending at 8:00 p.m. During summer vacation from school, the noncustodial parent has 30 days with the child during summer, generally running from July 1 to 31 under the standard order. These dates can be adjusted if the noncustodial parent notifies the other parent prior to April 1 that they prefer different days. During this time, the custodial parent gets one weekend with the child(ren).
The schedule is different if the parents live more than 100 miles apart. In that case, the noncustodial parent may choose between the first, third, and fifth weekends of the month for visitation of one weekend per month. The noncustodial parent has the child for 42 days of summer break (June 15 to July 27, unless different dates are scheduled by April 1), and the noncustodial parent has the child during spring break each year.
If this schedule does not fit the needs of you or your children, you can come to a different agreement together with the child’s other parent. If that proves impossible, the judge may deviate from the standard schedule if doing so is in the best interests of the children.
What Are Some Other Child Custody and Visitation Arrangements?
For children under age 3, the judge will most likely award a possession and access schedule designed specifically for young children. These schedules may change to the standard possession order when the child turns 3, or they can slowly alter as the child grows and their needs change.
Joint or 50/50 physical custody is rarely granted in Texas. The courts have typically seen these arrangements as being more beneficial for parents than for children who have to move frequently back and forth between houses. When these arrangements do exist, they are usually agreed upon by the parents, not ordered by the court.
Even rarer is for one parent to have no possession or access to a child or children at all. For this to be the case, the parent in question must have behaviors or circumstances that endanger the child(ren), such as drug or alcohol addiction, previous child or domestic abuse, or serious mental illness, for example. Most often, the court will try to ensure the child or children’s safety while still allowing access through supervised visitation, for example.
Each family has different needs and different circumstances. Determining the best possession and access schedule for a child or children can be a complex process that will benefit greatly from the assistance of a skilled and experienced child custody lawyer.
Does Attorney Anita Cutrer Practice Outside Tarrant County, Texas?
In her family law practice, Anita K. Cutrer, Attorney at Law, takes cases only in Tarrant County, Texas. This allows her to maintain a comprehensive understanding of the local courts and judges, greatly benefitting her clients.
Contact us today for a free consultation at 817-854-1651.