Child Custody Modifications in Texas

by Ricardo Barrera

child custodyChild custody in Texas has to do with the types of decision making a parent makes in reference to the interest of a child or children.

Conservatorship of the child

A parent is deemed either a sole managing conservator or a joint managing conservator.  A person who is deemed sole managing conservator retains all rights to make decisions regarding the health, education, and care of the child.  A joint managing conservator shares these duties with the other parent. The joint managing conservator with the right to designate the primary residence of the child, may establish where the child primarily lives and claim the child for tax purposes, or to gain the earned income credit, unless the decree states otherwise and/or a certain level of support is provided.  One would need to consult both a tax professional and a family law attorney to determine that conclusively.  Also, in determining which parent would have the ability to establish the primary residence, the court would look to factors surrounding the best interest of the child, which would include which parent or conservator would be better able to provide for the needs of that child and create a safe and stable primary residence for that child.

Access and Possession

The access and possession of the child has to do with visitation and the issues that surround how that will occur.  The standard possession order in the Texas Family Code presumes that the standard possession order is in the best interest of the child.  The court may take into account the age of the child as well as the distance between the parents or conservators, in order to determine which possession order would be in the best interest of the child.  At times, circumstances may call for a custom possession order to be created which may be in the best interest of the child, but is only valid with the court’s approval.

Modification or change of prior court orders

In order to modify a prior court order or divorce decree, one must show a substantial change and that this change affects the best interest of the child.  One may modify child support, conservatorship, the determination of who may select the primary residence of the child, the type of access and possession, whether a geographic restriction should be put in place, whether visits should be supervised, whether pick up and drop off should be at a neutral location, and much more.

In order to determine whether a prior court order or divorce decree should be changed or modified, it is necessary to contact a competent attorney who will understand what can be done to ensure that parental rights are fully exercised, and that there is a fair custody order in place that truly benefits the child.  Call attorney Ricardo Barrera with The Barrera Law Firm, PC, for a free consultation at 956-428-2822.


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