Protecting Your Family's Future

Will My Marital Status Affect My Ability to Gain Custody of My Children?

Marital Status and Custody in Texas

If you are involved in a divorce proceeding in Texas or your divorce is final, and there are disputes about where your minor children will live or what access to the child each parent will have, you may have concerns about the impact your marital status will have on the court’s decision. Will a judge be more inclined to grant physical custody (now known as possession) of a minor child to a parent who is married, believing that this provides a more stable environment? Or to the contrary, will a court hold that, since you have a new spouse, your unmarried ex-spouse ought to have custody of the children?

Texas Law Governing the Consideration of Marital Status in Divorce Proceedings

Under Texas statute (§ 153.003 of the Texas Family Code), courts may not consider the marital status of either party when making determinations about whether or not to set up a sole or joint managing conservatorship. Furthermore, the marital status of either parent may not be a factor in establishing the terms of the conservatorship, or of possession and access to the child.

In Texas, the primary consideration of the court in a conservatorship proceeding is the “best interests of the child.” Though the court cannot look at the marital status of either parent, the judge can consider:

  • The age of the child
  • The wishes of the child, if the child is old enough
  • Any potential danger to the child associated with living with one parent or the other
  • The parenting skills of each parent
  • The emotional and physical needs of the child
  • The stability of the respective home environments
  • Any evidence of domestic violence or illegal activity

The presumption in Texas is that both parents will be named as joint managing conservators. This means that both parents get to participate in decisions about the welfare of the child. The presumption, however, is rebuttable. With appropriate evidence, the court can name either parent as sole managing conservator.

Questions About Will My Marital Status Affect My Ability to Gain Custody of My Children? Custody, Divorce, and Family Law Attorney, Baytown, Texas

Stewart Law, PLLC, located in Baytown, Texas, provides legal counsel to parents involved in relocation issues, child support and custody matters, divorce, and other family law cases. If you have questions about how to stop your ex from moving away with your child, or other custody, divorce, or family law matters, we can give you advice that will help you decide how to proceed. For an initial assessment and consultation, contact our family law firm online or call our office at (281) 420-8020, at a reduced fee of $50.

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