Amarillo Child Custody Lawyer | Potter County Child Visitation Lawyer

Deciding how your children will be cared for after divorce can be tough. Call a child custody lawyer for help. Getting custody of a child is tough emotionally for you and the child, and adds a new dimension of stress and worry. In Texas, courts must decide how a child's best interests will be met. It is presumed that giving both parents joint managing conservatorship (joint custody) is in the best interests of the child. If both parents are appointed managing conservators, the court must designate one of them as primary conservator with the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the child. But if the parents choose not to designate a primary joint managing conservator, and have filed an agreed parenting plan that specifies a geographic location for the primary residence, then the court does not have to make this designation.

However, if the court decides after hearing evidence that it is in the child's best interest to give custody to only person (a parent or someone else), the court may appoint that person as sole managing conservator with certain rights and duties including the exclusive right to decide the primary residence, education, and medical care for child.

If one parent is appointed sole managing conservator, the other parent must be appointed possessory conservator (parent having visitation rights) unless the court finds that allowing visitation by the possessory conservator would endanger the child's physical or emotional welfare or would not be in the child's best interests.

A family court deciding conservatorship, possession, and visitation (access) focuses on the fitness of the parents and who can best serve the child's best interests including caring for the child and maintaining family relationships. A court cannot consider the marital status (married, single, or divorced), gender, race, or religion (except for illegal, immoral, or harmful beliefs), of the individuals seeking custody.

The court may consider the following and other factors to decide who will have legal and physical custody of a child:

(1) the desires of the children;
(2) the emotional, psychological, and physical needs of the child now and in the future;
(3) the emotional and physical danger to children now and in the future;
(4) the individual's parenting skills;
(5) programs available to those individuals to promote the best interest of the children;
(6) plans for the children by these individuals;
(7) stability of the home including whether there are siblings present;
(8) inappropriate actions of the individuals such as physical abuse, sexual misconduct, drug or alcohol abuse, child neglect, family violence, and any excuse for those actions; and
(9) any false reports made for child abuse.

Like many states, Texas adheres to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.  Any child under the age of 18 is covered by this act, which allows a family court to decide legal or physical custody and visitation as a part of lawsuits involving:

(1)  Divorce;
(2)  Separation;
(3)  Neglect;
(4)  Abuse;
(5)  Dependency;
(6)  Guardianship;
(7)  Paternity;
(8)  Termination of parental rights; and
(9)  Protection from domestic violence.

Visitation (Access, Possession) by the Noncustodial Parent

In Texas, the parent with whom a child primarily lives is often referred to as the primary managing conservator. The other parent is the possessory conservator who has the right to possession of a child at times specified in a "parenting plan" and "possession schedule", and during those times is authorized to exercise certain rights of a parent. When getting divorced, if the parents do not agree to a parenting plan that the court approves, the court will order the parents to spend their time with the children according to a standard possession order which is presumed to be in the best interests of the children. The standard possession order covers time with children during the week, on weekends, and over summer, school breaks, holidays, child's birthday, Mother's Day and Father's Day. For children under age three, the court will order special visitation arrangements.

How will your children spend time with the other parent after divorce? Cal a family lawyer to make these plans.What happens if we need to change our visitation or custody order?

Sometimes a parent loses a job, changes jobs, or needs to change the visitation schedule that the court approved in the divorce decree. Other times, change in circumstances are such that a child needs to live with the other parent. To make these changes, please see an Amarillo divorce lawyer to obtain a visitation or custody modification.

How does Texas treat child custody decisions from other countries?

Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Texas recognizes and enforces child custody decisions from other countries as if they were issued from another state of the United States, unless the country it comes from violates fundamental human rights.

What court has the jurisdiction to decide my child's custody?

According to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, a Texas family court has jurisdiction to decide child custody if Texas was the home state of the child within six months before the case started, and a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in Texas (even if the child is no longer in the state at that time). If a child in Texas has been abandoned, or the court must protect the child because the child or the child's sibling or parent has been threatened with or has been subjected to mistreatment or abuse, a family court in Texas may get Temporary Emergency Jurisdiction.

Get a Free Consultation with an Amarillo Child Custody Attorney

These are only a few of the many rules that affect child custody, and only some of the important legal factors to consider when trying to decide whether and how to sue for parental rights, guardianship, or conservatorship of a child. It takes an Amarillo child custody lawyer to fully inform you of what needs to be done in your personal situation because every family's circumstances are different. Meeting with an Amarillo child custody attorney will help you to understand your options and make the best possible plan.

All Divorces Reduce the Number of Caregivers for your Children

After a divorce and the subsequent custody decision, you may find yourself caring for multiple children with half the help. In these situations, it is important to have proper child care both for the sake of the children and for your own sake.  Here is a list of child care and education centers accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Amarillo College Child Development Lab School
6222 West 9th Avenue
Amarillo, TX 79106
(806) 356-3636
Opportunity School Inc.
1100 S. Harrison Street
Amarillo, TX 79101
(806) 373-4245

Don't wait any longer. Your children are too important. Call an Amarillo child custody lawyer right now!

Serving clients throughout the Texas Panhandle (Northern Texas), including Adrian, Ady, Amarillo, Bishop Hills, Bodemn, Borger, Bushland, Canadian River Breaks, Canyon, Channing, Chunky, Clarendon, Claude, Cliffside, Dalhart, Dumas, Folsom, Fritch, Gentry, Gluck, Hartley, Hereford, Juilliard, Lake Tanglewood, Masterson, North Randall, Palisades, Pampa, Panhandle, Pleasant Valley, Pullman, Skellytown, Timbercreek Canyon, Washburn, White Deer, Yarnall and other communities in Potter County and Randall County.