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Child Custody in Texas – An Overview

child custody divorce texas

If you are involved in or considering a divorce and you have minor children in the home, one of your primary concerns will be the determination of custody and visitation. You want what’s best for your children, but you also want to have regular and meaningful contact with your children.

In Texas, the courts give priority to the best interests of the child when assessing custody (actually referred to in Texas as “managing conservatorship”) and visitation, known as “access.” There are actually two different types of custody in Texas—physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child resides, whereas legal custody addresses the rights of a parent to be involved in decision-making about the child’s welfare, looking at choices involving educational, medical, religious and other needs. The courts have a number of options:

  • A sole custody award—The courts can give one parent primary physical custody of the minor child and allow visitation with the other child. The courts try to strike a balance between offering stability for the child and ensuring that the child maintains a meaningful relationship with both parents.
  • Joint or shared custody—A joint custody award gives both parents equal rights. It’s pretty common for the courts to grant joint legal custody, so that both parents have a right to be consulted about crucial decisions that affect the child. The courts can also grant shared physical custody, where the child maintains two substantial residences.
  • Split custody—This arrangement, rarely implemented, involves families with more than one minor child. The court may grant custody of one child to one parent and another child to the other parent.

As a general rule, unless the court waives the requirement, both parents in a divorce must complete a mandatory parenting class before the divorce decree will be finalized. This requirement can be met with an online course.

Contact Us

At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, in Baytown, we bring more than 8 years of experience to clients in south Texas. To learn how we can help, call our office at 281-761-6042 or contact us online. We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our offices are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

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