the firm with a fresh perspective
A divorce settlement case is often a painful time no matter the circumstances. When children are involved, it can become even harder. How the children will be raised and by whom is now up in the air and the matter may even end up out of the parents’ control if they are unable to reach a negotiated settlement that fits the parameters of Texas law. Parents, already with a lot on their plate, need to know their Round Rock child custody lawyer will be deeply familiar with applicable law and be prepared to fight for a fair and just outcome.
Pennington Law PLLC serves both English and Spanish-speaking clients across Williamson County and Travis County. Call today at (512) 877-4384 or reach out online for a free consultation. Payment plans available.
Types of Child Custody in Texas
Custody can be awarded in one of two ways. There can be sole custody, wherein one parent has control. And there can be joint custody, where authority and control are shared. Texas law starts with the presumption that the best interests of the child are served by each parent having an equal say in the life of their child. If a parent believes they should have sole custody, the responsibility lies with their Round Rock divorce attorney to demonstrate why.
Furthermore, custody is split into two different categories. There is physical custody and there is legal custody. It’s possible for a parent to have sole custody in one area and joint in the other.
Physical custody refers to where the children’s primary residence will be. Legal custody refers to decision-making authority on important areas of the children’s lives–like religion, education, and medical care.
It’s possible then, for a Texas court to conclude that the best interests of the child are served by one parent having sole physical custody (with visitation rights for the non-custodial parent), while joint authority is maintained for legal custody decisions.
The reason is this–the sole, overriding factor in all child custody decisions is what is the best interests of the child? The uniqueness of every single circumstance means that the best interests of the child might not always align with what each parent might consider fair.
A prime example might be a divorce where one parent is going to keep the house the family has been living in, with the other parent buying a new home a short distance away. Under this scenario, both parents are responsible, and each have a reasonable claim to share joint physical custody. This might involve the kids trading off weeks or months at each parent’s house.
But a court might conclude that the best interests of the child are having the stability of staying full-time in the same house that they’ve been living in. In this example, we’re assuming two responsible parents, so the court will keep joint custody for legal decision-making, but award sole custody on the issue of where the children live.
There are unfortunate circumstances where one parent might struggle with issues ranging from addiction to excessive anger to simple negligence in parenting. The other parent understandably wants sole custody of their children, both physical and legal. This can be done, but the parameters of Texas law require that the other parent’s unfitness be proven in court.
Ways this can be done might come from tracking expenses. Is there a credit card showing consistent late-night purchases at a drinking establishment? Witness testimony is even more compelling. Friends, neighbors, and others in the community (teachers, coaches, etc.) who may be aware of the situation can give testimony in court, as can supportive family members. If the police ever had to be called, there will be a record of that which can be introduced .
Whether you’re a parent who believes the best interest of your children depends on your getting sole custody, or if you’re a parent who believes you are being unjustly accused with unfit parenting, you need a Round Rock child custody lawyer who will fight hard on every last piece of evidence. It’s those little pieces of evidence that add up to show the total picture for the court.
The Firm with a Fresh Perspective
At Pennington Law PLLC, we believe it’s crucial that every case be approached with a fresh set of eyes. No two families are alike and that means no two divorce cases and child custody issues are ever exactly alike. Our studious legal approach means we’re up to date on the applicable law. Our creative thinking helps us get outside the box on behalf of our clients. And our fighting spirit means we’ll always press hard in the fight for a fair outcome.
From our Round Rock office, we serve all of Williamson County and Travis County, English and Spanish-speaking clients alike. We offer free consultations and payment plans. Call Pennington Law PLLC today at (512) 877-4384 or reach out here online.
“I truly am impressed at not only how professional, knowledgeable, hardworking, and thorough the Tyler Pennington law firm was but also by how they made us feel that our case was a top priority.” - Cynthia V.
“He focused on the case itself when dealing with the judge and other attorneys and did not play into the games. I felt very supported both personally and professionally.” - Gabrielle H.