Child Custody & Visitation
Choosing to end a marriage or relationship is typically an emotional process that requires the consideration of numerous factors. When a couple who is ending their relationship has a child, however, a key concern is developing a custody and visitation agreement that is in the best interest of the child. Although Texas law defines a parent's rights and duties with regard to custody, each case must be evaluated on an individual basis to determine which custody arrangement will be most beneficial to the child. If you have concerns regarding the custody of your child, it is vital to hire a skilled San Antonio child custody lawyer who can assertively advocate on behalf of your position. Attorney Allan R. Manka has assisted people in custody actions for more than 40 years. He will work tirelessly to help you pursue a custody arrangement that is favorable to your child.Agreed Parenting Plan
The Texas courts are in favor of parties independently resolving custody disputes. Thus, if the co-parents can agree to terms regarding custody and visitation and reduce the agreement to writing, they can submit it to the court for approval. If the court finds the agreement to be in the child’s best interest, it will issue an order incorporating the agreement. If the agreement is not in the child's best interest, the parties may submit a modified agreement. If no modified agreement is submitted, or the parties are unable to come to an agreement, the court will order a custody arrangement.Factors Weighed in Developing a Custody Arrangement
In determining an appropriate custody arrangement, the court's primary concern is what is in the child's best interest. In weighing what is in a child’s best interest, the court will assess several factors, including the physical, psychological, and emotional needs of the child, each parent’s ability to care for the child, and each parent’s traditional role in caring for the child. The Texas family law code specifically prohibits gender from being a factor of consideration in developing a custody arrangement. Instead, unless there is a history of abuse or neglect, the court will generally assign each parent rights and responsibilities with regard to custody and visitation. Custody cases are often multi-faceted and complex. Thus, it is wise to seek the assistance of a child custody attorney in the San Antonio area who can explain how custody may be divided under the unique facts of your case.Conservatorship or Legal Custody
The legal custody of a child is known as conservatorship in Texas. A conservatorship is the right to make important decisions regarding the child’s care and welfare, including where the child will live and attend school, which religious practices the child will observe, and who will provide medical care for the child. While a conservatorship may be sole or joint, there is a rebuttable presumption that a joint managing conservatorship is in the child’s best interest. When a court orders a joint managing conservatorship, it will delineate each parent's rights and obligations regarding the child's care, support, and education. Even if a court orders a joint managing conservatorship, one parent will be given the right to decide where the child lives. The parent who determines the child’s primary residence is known as the primary joint managing conservator, while the other parent is the possessory conservator. If you want to be the primary joint managing conservator for your child, you should retain a San Antonio child custody attorney who can help you pursue this arrangement.Visitation or Possession and Access
Texas refers to visitation as possession and access. A joint managing conservatorship does not require the court to award each parent equal rights to possession and access regarding the child. Texas provides guidelines via a standard possession order, which is meant to apply to the determination of possession and access for any child over the age of three, and it allows both parents to have access to the child. There is a rebuttable presumption that the standard possession order is in the child’s best interest. A court may deviate from the standard possession order, however, if a deviation is determined to be appropriate under the facts of the case.Meet With a Dedicated Family Law Attorney in San Antonio
In any case in which the custody of a child is at issue, the health and welfare of the child should be the primary concern of all of the parties involved. If you are currently involved in a custody dispute, it is in your best interest to meet with a child custody lawyer in the San Antonio area to discuss your options for obtaining a custody arrangement that is beneficial to your child and you. Allan R. Manka has an office in San Antonio, and he regularly represents parents in custody actions in Adkins, Atascosa, Converse, Elmendorf, Helotes, Universal City, Von Ormy, and other areas in Bexar County. Mr. Manka can be contacted at 210-824-1800 or via the online form to schedule a consultation regarding your custody case.