Skilled Child Custody Attorneys in Houston, Texas
CHILD CUSTODY & VISITATION – KEEPING THE FOCUS ON THE CHILD
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Going through a divorce in Texas is a challenging and emotional process that is often made more difficult when children are involved. It is not uncommon for parents to dispute child custody, and often, each party in the divorce must hire an experienced child custody lawyer in Houston who handles these disputes to represent them, so their kids’ best interests are always at the forefront of their case.
At Stepp & Sullivan, P.C., our Houston child custody and visitation lawyers have worked closely with parents from all walks of life who need competent legal counsel during a divorce. There are many crucial decisions to be made in a divorce, and, without legal representation, you can miss out on opportunities for decisions regarding child custody and visitation to work in your favor.
Partnering with Experienced Child Custody and Visitation Lawyers in Houston, Texas
At Stepp & Sullivan, we work hard to ensure that both sides remember that the child is the real focus in any custody dispute. When deciding child custody, the court will always consider the child’s best interests.
Child custody in Harris County is divided into two parts:
- Legal Custody: Determines who makes the decisions involving the health, education, and welfare of the child
- Physical Custody: Determines where the child lives
Physical and legal custody in Houston, Texas can be awarded as the sole responsibility of one party or shared jointly.
What is the Difference Between Joint Custody and Sole Custody in Houston, Texas?
Additionally, the court may decide to grant sole or joint custody. Sole custody may be awarded to one parent. The child resides with that parent, and that parent has the exclusive legal right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as decisions regarding medical care, education, religious beliefs, activities, and more. This means that the parent with sole custody has physical and legal custody.
The court will usually try to grant joint custody to both parents so that the child may enjoy a meaningful relationship with them. In a joint custody arrangement, both parents participate in decision making and the child may live with one parent most of the time while the other parent gets visitation. Usually, this is what is considered in the best interest of the child.
In a shared custody arrangement, the parents share legal custody rights and the child has two official residences. The child lives with each parent for at least 35% of the year. Another custody arrangement called split custody is hardly selected. Split custody works with at least 2 children. Each parent is awarded full custody of at least one of the two children.
What is Considered the Child’s Best Interests in Houston, Texas?
The State of Texas Family Law Court considers the child’s best interests when determining issues like custody, visitation, and support.
Each child is unique and has different needs that must be met.
The court will evaluate the following before deciding on child custody and visitation:
- The home environment each parent offers
- How far apart the parents live
- Each parent’s ability to properly care for the child
- Whether the parents can cooperate on the child’s upbringing
- Each parent’s financial situation
- Each parent’s employment situation
- The child’s preference for either parent (for children 12 or older)
The court will also consider the following before determining a custody arrangement:
- The child’s wishes
- The child’s current and future emotional and physical needs
- Potential emotional and physical danger to the child
- Each parent’s abilities
- Each parent’s plans to raise the child
- Stability of the proposed home
- Any signs that a parent is unfit to raise the child
Are Parenting Classes Required in a Texas Divorce Involving Children?
Usually, the State of Texas requires parents seeking a divorce with minor children to complete a parenting course before granting a divorce. The class is designed to help parents and children cope with the trauma divorce and separation usually bring. Both parents must complete the course unless the court grants a waiver. Parents who must complete this course can do so online for a reasonable fee.
Our Family Law Firm in Houston at Stepp & Sullivan, P.C. Also Provide Following Services:
- Child Support
- Child Custody & Visitation
- Protective & Restraining Orders
- Spousal Support
- Division of Community Property
- Grandparents Rights
- Divorce Modification
- Property Division
What are the Possible Visitation Arrangements in a Texas Divorce?
Each Texas divorce is unique, and so are the needs of the children.
Their ages, education, extra-curricular activities, and any special needs will be taken into consideration by the court, which is why our Houston child custody attorneys leave no detail to chance when preparing your case.
Here are a few of the child custody scenarios in which we can help you:
- Enforcement by a noncustodial parent of a visitation agreement
- Grandparents seeking visitation rights with their grandchildren
- Modification of the parenting plan by a noncustodial parent
- Protecting the rights of non-biological parents in same-sex couples
- Relocation, moving, and international custody issues
- Visitation modification schedule by a parent with full or primary custody
Hiring a child custody lawyer in Houston early in the divorce process is critical to ensuring that the decisions made during divorce proceedings will work in your favor and that of your children. Our custody and visitation lawyers understand that you’re going through a difficult time. We can help you make logical decisions that will help you secure a bright future.
Will My Child Custody Dispute Go to Trial in Houston, Texas?
That depends on your unique case, and how you and your spouse are handling the details of who gets what type of custody.
We take to trial only those Houston child custody cases in which we believe litigation is the best option. For those cases where the trial may not be appropriate, we will counsel you and work diligently to negotiate an amicable resolution.
Can I Seek Emergency Child Custody in Houston, Texas if My Children are in Danger?
If one parent believes their child(ren) is at risk, emergency child custody needs can be pursued initially on a temporary basis.
Some circumstances that may require pursuing emergency custody include, but are not limited to:
- If you believe your “ex” is going to relocate with your child without your permission or the court’s consent
- If you notice signs of abuse or neglect
- If the child is in imminent danger
Our Houston child custody law firm understands how terrifying these circumstances are and will help you seek the emergency temporary child custody order you need to protect your child while we help build your case for a more permanent resolution that is best for everyone.
Partner with Our Experienced Child Custody and Visitation Lawyers in Houston Today
The dedicated Houston child custody attorneys with Stepp & Sullivan, P.C. have more than 70 years of combined experience advocating for parents involved in divorce proceedings.
We understand that no two divorces are the same, and neither are the custody requirements necessary to provide the best future for your children. That is why we customize each case we represent, so our clients know they are getting the experienced representation that is designed for their unique needs.
Our Houston child custody attorney team is known for delivering quality, personalized services that get results. Attorney Jad J. Stepp is an AV-rated attorney by Martindale-Hubble and has a 10 rating on Avvo. Our Houston family law attorney is a member of the Texas State Bar and aims to help you achieve your goals in divorce disputes.