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Category Archives: Custody

Understanding the Different Types of Child Custody & Visitation

During a divorce with children, you and your ex-spouse must reach a custody agreement. If you and your ex cannot create an agreement on your own, the court will decide what type of child custody is best for your child, as well as any applicable visitation arrangements. 

Understanding Child Custody

There are two parts to child custody: include legal custody and physical custody. Let’s dive a bit deeper into both.

Legal Custody

Legal custody gives you the ability to make critical decisions on your child’s behalf. These decisions can include, for example, where your child will attend school and what doctor they’ll see. Legal custody can be given to one parent (sole) or both parents (joint). 

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to where your child lives. For example, you may have sole physical custody, which means the child lives primarily with you and your ex-spouse has visitation rights. Or, you might share physical custody, which means the child lives with you part of the time and your ex-spouse part of the time. 

In some cases, custody arrangements include one parent with legal and physical custody. In other cases, both parents will share legal custody with one parent having physical custody. It all depends on what the court decides is best for your child.

What Types of Visitation Are Available?

If sole custody is included in your custody agreement, you or your ex-spouse will be awarded visitation, so that you may be with your child on a regular basis. There are two common visitation methods used frequently by the court:

  • Unsupervised visitation: In unsupervised visitation, the parent can take the child to their own home or on any outing without supervision.
  • Supervised visitation: Courts will sometimes order supervised visitation, which means the parent must visit their child while another adult is present. This adult may be someone appointed by the custodial parent or a social worker designated by the court.

Call the Team at Schneider Law Firm Today for Custody Help

Child custody can be difficult to understand on your own. If you’re considering a divorce, reach out for help. For answers to your questions or to speak with a divorce attorney today, give our Arlington law office a call at 817-799-7125 or send us a message.

When to Consider Modifying Your Child Custody Order

A child custody order explains the custody arrangement for your children and is often created during a divorce or legal separation. If your order no longer works for you and your family, you can request a child custody modification in court.

When Should You Consider Modifying Your Child Custody Order?

Here are common reasons why a parent may seek to modify an existing custody order.

  • A parent is relocating: If you or your ex-spouse decides to relocate to a distant location, the court will consider changing the custody order. 
  • A child is in immediate danger: If abuse is suspected in the current household, the court will consider a modification.
  • A parent’s work schedule changes: If either spouse’s work schedule changes, a modification may be required to ensure a child can attend school and other activities.
  • A parent’s health changes: If a parent receives a diagnosis requiring medical attention, the order may need to be modified to ensure a child’s life isn’t interrupted due to medical care.

Other reasons for modifications may include the death of a parent, custody order violations, remarriage and a parent’s inability to provide childcare.

The court may not consider changing a child custody order if it appears to work. After all, they’re most concerned about what’s in the best interests of your children. If a modification will disrupt your child’s life, the court will want solid reasons why it’s a must.

The Child Custody Modification Process

If you believe you have a solid reason for modification, you must file a petition or motion to modify child custody in court. Once filed, the other parent will receive notice of the motion. The case will then reopen and follow a similar process as the original case. If you can prove your case for modification, you and your ex-spouse will receive a new custody order reflecting the changes.

We recommend reaching out to an attorney who can help you determine your options and how to best proceed.

Reach Out to Schneider Law Firm in Ft. Worth Today

Do you believe you need a child custody order modification? If so, we’re here to help. To learn more about custody modifications, call our Ft. Worth office today at 817-755-1852 or send us a message.

Visitation During COVID-19

When co-parents plan for the time they’ll spend with their children, they typically don’t think of the unexpected. Sometimes global events beyond our control change things very quickly, and it leaves parents wondering: What does Texas family law say about visitation during coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Being With Your Child Is an Essential Activity

Many Texas shelter-in-place orders specifically allow traveling to exchange your children. It’s an essential activity. You’re not violating an order to stay at home if you’re dropping off or picking up your child following a court order related to possession of and access (often called visitation).

Generally, you and your co-parent should stick with your schedule. But, what if you’re worried the other parent may have been exposed to COVID-19? Like anything else, keeping a child from the other parent comes with risks. You could get in trouble with the court for doing it without a valid reason.

If you choose to keep a child with you instead of sending him or her to spend time with the other parent, it’s a good idea to document your reasoning and keep any evidence that could be applicable, just in case. Each situation is different, so talk with your lawyer about what’s best for you.

Co-Parenting Is Key During Difficult Times

As long as your court orders say it’s okay, you and the other parent are free to agree to the possession and exchange methods that work best for your family. So, if you and your co-parent are willing to work together, it could be a good idea to plan for what to do:

  • Agree to follow social distancing guidelines and CDC recommendations
  • Talk specifically about what behaviors to enforce, like washing hands or wiping down the outsides of takeout boxes and groceries before bringing them into the home
  • Decide what to do if a parent knows they have been exposed to coronavirus
  • Decide what to do if one parent or both parents get sick
  • Discuss how to protect other people in the child’s life, like the elderly and people who are immunocompromised
  • Discuss what do to in the event of school activity and summer camp cancellations

If you both respectfully agree to follow the same behaviors in your homes, and if you have a plan in place, you’ll be well prepared to work together to be the best parents you can be during a difficult time. 

Talk With an Attorney About Visitation and Your Rights

The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented. Courts, families and their attorneys have to make decisions based on the law, common sense and a shared goal of protecting families. 

If you’re worried about your access to your child or your child’s safety, talk with the lawyers at the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., by calling 817-799-7125 or send us a message. Consultations with our attorneys are confidential. 

Source: https://texaslawhelp.org/article/coronavirus-and-child-visitation

Supervised Visitation in Texas

Texas courts want both parents to have a fulfilling relationship with their children, whether married or divorced. But there are some times when protecting parental visitation rights can be difficult—like when allegations of emotional or physical abuse are present, when a parent struggles with mental health or substance use issues, or when there is a likelihood of child abduction by a parent.

In those cases, Texas courts may order something called “supervised visitation.” During supervised visitation, the parent is not allowed to be alone with the child. Instead of meeting alone at the parent’s home, for example, the parent and child may spend time together at another location where someone else is present. That person may be:

  • A neutral third party, like a neighbor or relative
  • The other parent
  • A paid professional at an agency
Supervised Visitation in Texas
817-799-7125 – In some situations, like when allegations of abuse are present, Texas courts order supervised visitation to protect the best interests of the child.

How It Works: Supervised Possession Orders

If there are concerns about a child’s safety, a judge may issue a Supervised Possession Order. The Supervised Possession Order attaches to a divorce decree or child custody order and states that both parents must follow it.

Typically, it will list the names of both parents and say that restrictions or limitations on a specific parent’s custody are required to protect the best interests of the child. The order then lays out the terms of visitation, including where the visitation will take place.

Supervised Visitation Centers

Many co-parents choose to have supervised visitation take place at a supervised visitation center. In Tarrant County, there are many options to choose from. The Texas Attorney General keeps a directory of access and visitation locations to choose from, and we can make a recommendation for your family based on our experience, too.

Unfortunately, there is a cost associated with using a supervised visitation center. Usually, the parent requiring supervised visitation must pay the fee. Although the fee can be a deterrent for some families, most parents find they would do anything to protect their relationships with their children while keeping them safe and secure.

Talk With an Attorney About Supervised Visitation

The law on supervised visitation and child custody is very complicated. The best way to get answers about your situation is to talk with a lawyer. Start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 . Consultations with our attorneys are confidential. We can answer your questions and take action to protect your children and your relationship with them.

Source:

https://texaslawhelp.org/article/child-visitation-possession-orders#toc-5

Who Keeps the Pet in a Texas Divorce?

The relationship you have with your pet is like nothing else. Pets can be man’s (or woman’s!) best friend, a constant companion and a source of comfort – especially during a difficult time. So, it’s no wonder that we often see divorces in which spouses’ greatest source of conflict is deciding who will keep a beloved family dog or cat. If you’re worried that your divorce may affect your relationship with your pet, here’s what you should know.

Texas Law on Pets in Divorce

Currently, Texas law treats family pets the same way it treats property. Courts seek to divide the property equally, deciding who gets the pet the way they would decide who gets any other asset – without regard to a spouse’s personal connection with the pet or where the pet would be happier.
Essentially, the current law treats a beloved family pet the same way it would any other personal property, like a lamp or a desk. In theory, a court could order that a pet be sold and the profits be divided equally between the two spouses.
Courts have explained this decision in the context of resources: Courtrooms are already full of people who are involved in heated child custody disputes or child custody modifications. Courts have said they simply don’t have the resources to hear pet custody cases, too.

The Law Might Be Changing…

Legal experts think that the law may change in the future. In fact, it already has changed in states like Alabama, Vermont, Alaska and California, and a change in the law seems likely in New York. These states have taken first steps to considering “puppy custody” by taking the best interests of a dog into account when determining which spouse the dog should live with.
Legal experts explain the change by taking into account the pet’s significance: Why should the law prevent spouses from dividing time with a pet? After all, the courts already let spouses work through extensive conflict related to inanimate objects. For many people, family pets are much, much more significant than any object.

How to Protect Your “Pet Custody” During a Divorce

So, how can you protect your relationship with your pet during a Texas divorce? If your relationship with your pet is important, mention it to your lawyer right away. Knowing that it is critical, your attorney can strategically work to protect your relationship with the pet during the divorce process. Often, it is possible for your attorney to negotiate with your spouse’s attorney so that the dog or cat lives with you after the divorce.
To get started protecting your relationship with your pet, call the Fort Worth, Arlington, or Keller/Alliance office of Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-755-1852.

Sources:
https://www.law.com/texaslawyer/2019/02/25/the-best-interest-of-the-dog-a-beloved-pet-is-mere-property-in-a-divorce-but-maybe-not-for-long/

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/gpsolo/publications/gpsolo_ereport/2018/april-2018/pet-custody-who-keeps-pet-when-couples-divorce/