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Category Archives: Child 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.

When to Consider Modifying Your Child Custody Order | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-598689282
817-755-1852 – Change is inevitable. You may need to consider modifying your child custody order if it’s in your child’s best interests. To learn more, visit us today.

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.

When a Child Custody Order Is Confusing

We sometimes hear from parents who are confused and upset by the court orders they received from Texas courts. For example, a child custody order might say different things on different pages, or it might be written in a way that doesn’t make sense or that’s too vague to follow.

The court order makes child custody and visitation a challenge, and it can cause disagreements between the parents. Sometimes, one parent accuses the other of not following the order when that parent was just following a different part of the order. Not following the order is called “being in contempt.” It’s a serious problem that can get you into deep trouble in Texas courts.

A Motion to Clarify

If your child custody order doesn’t make sense to you or the other parent, or if it’s causing conflict in your custody arrangement, there are actions you can take. Texas law allows parents and their attorneys to file something called a “motion to clarify.” The motion asks a court to clarify an order if the court finds that the order is not specific enough and that one parent could be held in contempt if the order was clarified.

Your lawyer can help you seek a motion to clarify before the court finds that one parent is in contempt, as part of a contempt proceeding, or after a denial of a motion for contempt.

When a Child Custody Order is Confusing | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-1090431444

817-799-7125 – Texas law allows parents to file a motion for clarification when a child custody order is unclear, and a parent may be acting in contempt for not following it. Get help from an attorney at the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., in Arlington. 

What a Motion to Clarify Doesn’t Do

When the court grants the motion to clarify, it simply rules to change the order to be less confusing. There are things that a motion to clarify does not do, including:

  • Substantively change the order: A change in a court order is called a “child custody modification.” If you would like the order changed so that the terms of the arrangement are different, seeking a modification is probably a better fit for you. Talk with your attorney.
  • Apply retroactively to hold a parent in contempt: The order only applies going forward, so you can’t ask the court to clarify the order, and then immediately hold the other parent accountable for not following it in the past.

Get a Lawyer’s Help for Confusing Child Custody Orders

When a child custody order is confusing, it’s best to get legal help. Following only your interpretation of the order can lead to trouble. And if the other parent isn’t following the order because of confusion, get legal help too. Your attorney can protect your interests and your relationship with your child.  Start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125.

Sources:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.157.htm

https://texaslawhelp.org/article/clarifying-visitation-orders-answers-common-questions#toc-2

Being a Good Parent, Even When You Can’t Always Be With Your Child

According to a 2019 research study, only about 60% of kids in the United States live with their married, biological parents. The rest live in many different situations—commonly residing with one biological parent with visitation from the second biological parent after a divorce. With this happening so frequently, it’s no wonder that many parents wonder how they can continue being good parents to their children, even when they can’t always be with them. Here are some tips.

Always Show Up When You Say You Will

Keeping your child’s trust is much, much easier than re-establishing if after you’ve lost it. So, it is critical to your relationship with your child that you don’t promise things you can’t deliver, and that you always show up when you say you will.

Of course, this is harder than it sounds. Modern-day parenting is complex, and most parents juggle heavy workloads and many competing responsibilities. But your children should always come first. Block off your visitation time on your calendar and make sure other people in your life understand that visitation time always take priority.

How to Be a Good Parent | Schneider Law Firm, P.C.
817-755-1852 – After a divorce, there are actions you can take to stay connected with your child. Here are some tips from the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., in Arlington, TX.

Make Visitation Time a Special Time to Focus on Your Child 

During your visitation time, make sure your child is your primary focus. Set aside time to do something with your child, like making an art project, going to the park or just playing video games together. It’s easy to get caught up in using parenting time to take children to and from activities but try to resist it: quality time is important.

If possible, make a special place in your home for your child—like your child’s bedroom that you decorate together. If that’s not possible, make sure your child has his or her own bed, toy bins and artwork on display. No matter what, make sure your child feels welcome in your home.

Find Ways to Stay Connected

Even if you can’t see your child every day, finding ways to stay connected can keep you feeling close. Set aside time to call your child or to send texts regularly. Add your child’s special events to your calendar so you will be sure to remember, even if you’re not there. Sometimes a silly GIF and a heartfelt “hope you had a great day” can go a long way toward making your kid smile.

Contact Us for Help With Legal Issues That Affect Your Kids

At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we understand just how important your relationship with your kids can be, and we work hard to protect it. If a legal issue affects your kids, our attorneys can help you take action and achieve the best possible outcome. For a confidential consultation, call our Arlington office at 817-799-7125.

Sources:

Child Custody for Holidays and Birthdays

Birthdays and holidays can be challenging enough when parents live together. When they live separately and co-parent, however, child custody can become especially complicated. 

In Texas, divorce agreements can accommodate many different parenting plans. In the absence of another agreement, Texas law offers some standard visitation guidelines.

General Visitation Guidelines in Texas

If you’re wondering if you and your child will spend a birthday or a holiday together, your divorce decree or child custody order is the first place to look. If you have questions about your custody order, calling your lawyer is a good idea. If the legal document does not outline specific dates, Texas’ standard visitation guidelines may apply.

Child Custody for Holidays and Birthdays | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-619735158
817-755-1852 – Child custody can get complicated when it comes to birthdays, holidays and special events. Our attorneys can help.

Those guidelines can be complicated, but generally, when distance isn’t an issue:

  • Mother’s Day: If the mother isn’t in possession of the child on Mother’s Day, she’s entitled to spend Mother’s Day weekend with the child, from 6 p.m. on Friday through 6 p.m. on Mother’s Day.
  • Father’s Day: If the father isn’t in possession of the child on Father’s Day, he’s entitled to spend Father’s Day weekend with the child, from 6 p.m. on Friday through 6 p.m. on Father’s Day.
  • Birthdays: If a parent isn’t in possession of the child on the child’s birthday, they are entitled to pick the child up for two hours between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. so they have some time to celebrate together.
  • Christmas: The parent the child lives with has possession of the child on even-numbered years. The other parent has possession of the child on odd-numbered years. Possession begins at 6 p.m. the day the child is dismissed from school for Christmas vacation. It ends at noon on December 28th.
  • Thanksgiving: The parent the child lives with has possession of the child on odd-numbered years. The other parent has possession of the child on even-numbered years. That way, a parent who spends Thanksgiving with the child will not spend Christmas with the child and vice versa.

How to Make Holidays and Birthdays Easier

Figuring out co-parenting can make a stressful event even more difficult. But, for all the heightened tensions parents feel, they should not forget that their words and actions can make a holiday stressful for the child, too. It’s important for them to take a step back and figure out the logistics calmly as adults. There are many other things you can do to make holidays easier for children, too, including asking kids what would make them happy that day and keeping the focus on them.

When Child Custody Gets Complicated, Get Legal Help

There are many child custody matters that a blog post can’t answer. When things are confusing and child custody arrangements get tense, it’s best to talk with a lawyer. At the Ft. Worth office of Schneider Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys can answer your questions about child custody during birthdays and holidays. Call 817-755-1852 to talk with us about your situation.

 Source:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.153.htm

Your Temporary Orders Hearing: What to Expect

Ideally, a divorce will reach a resolution as quickly as possible. But that’s not always the case. Because divorces can take some time and life goes on, Texas courts often issue temporary orders that stay in place through the duration of the divorce. The temporary orders can protect your interests during the divorce process. Those orders are issued after a temporary orders hearing; here’s what to expect from them and the process.

The Temporary Orders Hearing Process

You may request a temporary orders hearing by having your lawyer file a “Petition for Temporary Orders” at the same time they file your other divorce documents with the court. The petition should outline the orders you are seeking, as well as the date and time of the hearing (your lawyer’s office will arrange this).

For most people, the temporary orders hearing is the first time they appear before the judge in the divorce process. It’s important to make a good impression at this hearing. 

Follow your attorney’s directions and allow them to do most of the speaking for you. The judge will likely ask questions of both parties’ lawyers so that he or she can come to a decision on the orders you’re seeking.

You probably won’t hear from the judge exactly what the temporary orders are at the hearing. Usually, the judge hears both parties’ sides. After the hearing, they deliberate on the best solution before issuing the order.

Your Temporary Orders Hearing | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-619735158
817-755-1852 – Here’s what to expect at your temporary orders hearing in Texas, including what orders the court may make.

Issues the Court May Decide Upon During This Process

There are many different issues that can come before a judge during a temporary orders hearing, including:

  • Temporary child custody, including possession and access
  • Child support
  • Possession of an item in dispute, like the family cars
  • Health insurance

Temporary Orders Can Lead to Permanent Ones

While these orders aren’t permanent, it’s important to note that they can have a huge impact on the final outcome of the divorce. In many cases, temporary orders become the arrangement that the family grows accustomed to. During the finalization of the divorce, it makes the most sense for the court to issue a final order that is similar to the temporary one. That’s why your attorney will take the temporary orders hearing seriously. 

Contact Us for Help With Your Divorce

If you’d like more information about temporary orders during a Texas divorce, you might also be interested in our Q&As about temporary orders. And if you’re considering a divorce, talking with a lawyer is a good way to get real information about things like temporary orders. For a confidential consultation, call our Ft. Worth office at 817-755-1852 .

Source:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.6.htm

Co-Parenting Babies and Toddlers

Every family is different. Parents must learn to co-parent together outside of marriage when their child is still very young. In those cases, it’s a good idea to talk with your lawyer about what’s best for your family. Babies and toddlers have needs and abilities different from those of an older child. 

Co-Parenting When a Child Is Under Three Years Old

In most cases involving children and divorce, courts believe that something called a Standard Possession Order is in the best interests of a child. A Standard Possession Order is intended to protect the best interests of children when determining how the non-custodial parent (the parent the children don’t live with) spends time with them. It generally lists what weekdays, weekends and holidays both parents can have with their children.

Texas law, however, says that Standard Possession Orders are not meant for children less than three years old. Instead, Texas courts consider a series of factors, including things like:

  • The physical, medical, behavioral and developmental needs of the child
  • The effect on the child of separation from either parent
  • The caregiving provided to the child before the current custody lawsuit
  • The child’s need for routine
  • The age of the child

Things to Consider When Co-Parenting a Very Young Child

When you and your ex break up or divorce while your child is very young, the child will never remember that you were ever together. What they will remember is that you and the other parent worked together to give your child the best life possible–that you loved him or her and treated each other with respect.

Respectful co-parenting means choosing to work together, even when you disagree. It means communicating about your baby’s needs or toddler’s needs and making sure to involve both parents as those needs change. This is especially important when caring for a young child who can’t effectively communicate their needs and who is growing quickly.

To make successful co-parenting happen, many experts recommend arranging short and frequent visits with the non-custodial parent. For young children, they’re less stressful than long, overnight visits. A schedule for a young child might plan for a few hours a few times a week. Time can and should be extended as the child grows older.

Co-Parenting Babies and Toddlers | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-619735158
817-799-7125 – When a child is under three, courts do not necessarily order visitation as they do for older children. Here are some things to consider when co-parenting a very young child.

Get Help With Child Custody. Contact an Attorney.

Of course, every family’s needs are different. It’s best to talk with a lawyer about yours. If you need legal help with co-parenting a baby or toddler, you can start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125. Our Texas divorce lawyers are here to support you.

Source:

http://www.txaccess.org/informal-out-court-agreements-children-birth-3-years-old

Evaluating Divorce Issues Through the Lens of a Business Decision

We’ve all heard of marriage as a partnership. Similar in kind to small business partnerships, the spouses share responsibility (to one degree or another) over household chores, finances, children, and so on. The spouses also share the benefits that come from their partnership, such as the shared home, family vacations, a degree of financial security, emotional support, etc.

But what happens when the marriage draws to an end? 

To be sure, marriage is not a business; it’s a personal relationship. And divorce is the termination of that relationship (subject to future and ongoing commitments involving children and spousal support). It is definitely not as impersonal as many business decisions can be. But there are benefits to evaluating divorce through the lens of a business decision. 

These benefits include greater objectivity in decision-making, reduced stress and anxiety for all parties, including children, and (in general) reduced legal expense. We examine each of these in turn below.  

Objectivity: Keeping a Level Head

Divorce is not the end of the world. This realization may help you come to terms with the initial shock of divorce (if it comes as a surprise) or with feelings of frustration, doubt and failure that arise from a troubled marriage. If divorce is not the end of the world, it is not necessary to fight with your spouse over matters that can be resolved rather easily (the old motorcycle in the garage, for example). This saves time and energy for the truly important decisions involving valuable property, household finances, spousal support, child custody, and parenting plans, to name a few.

Reduced Stress and Anxiety

Divorce is a significant stressor—and that’s so in some divorce cases more than others. You cannot eliminate stress and anxiety entirely, but you can manage it. In some cases, our client simply cannot “get along” with his or her spouse, and emotions run high. There may be no way to avoid this. But even in those cases, taking one or two steps back when making a decision may lead to a better result and reduce overall stress.  

Reduced Legal Fees

There is no way to guarantee the ultimate cost of any legal proceeding. In general, uncontested divorce cases cost less, simply because there are no issues to resolve. The parties both agree on property division, spousal support, child custody and visitation. On the other hand, contested divorce cases often involve significant disagreement on these issues—and this is where business-minded decision-making comes into play. Objective decision-making often leads to optimal results in terms of your finances and relationships post-divorce—and reduced legal fees because your lawyer spends less time to resolve issues.        

Let Us Help You Make Optimal Decisions 

From our law offices in Arlington, Texas, the divorce and family law attorneys of Schneider Law Firm, P.C., help our clients make sound decisions that protect their finances and their future. We serve families in the Arlington, and Mansfield, Texas areas. Call 817-799-7125 for a confidential consultation. 

Divorce is Not the End of the World (Even Though it Can Feel Like It)

Divorce is Not the End of the World (Even Though it Can Feel Like It)

The psychological literature is clear: Divorce can be extremely stressful—for everyone involved, from the parents to the children. Psychology Today cites our unique ability to make up stories (as human beings) as a major factor in how we deal with stress. For many people, a difficult marriage headed toward divorce is a “story” about disappointment and failure. That story can cause significant stress—but it’s just that: a story. 

And we all have the power to change the stories that we tell ourselves.  

Seek Out an Objective Viewpoint

The old phrase “losing the forest for the trees” applies here. We are all at risk of losing the forest for the trees when we are muck-deep in our day-to-day reality, especially when we’re facing the particular stresses of divorce and its related concerns like talking with your kids about it. It can be hard to maintain your objectivity. 

In fact, it can feel like divorce is the end of the world. Your story then becomes a story about how your spouse wronged you, how your children will never recover, and so on. But nothing could be further from the truth.

An objective viewpoint—from a divorce lawyer, a family therapist, a psychologist—can give you the space you need to evaluate your situation with a level head, as well as a roadmap for moving forward. That’s one of the primary reasons you should see a trusted advisor.   

Changing the Story About Your Divorce

As divorce and family law attorneys, we help our clients evaluate their stories. Sometimes the stories are accurate. Often, only parts of the story are true, while other parts aren’t so true. Frankly, it is next-to-impossible to maintain an objective viewpoint on your own, and so it’s no surprise to find that your story isn’t entirely true. 

For example, you may say to yourself: “I’m going to lose my relationship with my kids.” Or: “I’ve never handled the finances and I stayed at home to raise the kids. I’m going to be out on the streets.” These are all valid concerns—but these concerns are exaggerated. 

While it’s true that divorce can strain family relationships, as one example, the key is to reflect on the fact that there is life after divorce. Divorce is not the end of the world. You and your family will continue to exist afterward. The question is: What steps will you take to ensure that you maintain a good relationship with your kids? Because that is more than possible.

Tell Us What Worries You

From our office in Ft. Worth, our role at Schneider Law Firm, P.C., is to provide the answers and insight that you need to maintain your objectivity and take solid steps for your future. Call 817-755-1852 today for a confidential consultation.

Source: Psychology Today: Where Are You On The Divorce Stress Scale?

When a Child Custody Order Is Confusing

We sometimes hear from parents who are confused and upset by the court orders they received from Texas courts. For example, a child custody order might say different things on different pages, or it might be written in a way that doesn’t make sense or that’s too vague to follow.
The court order makes child custody and visitation a challenge, and it can cause disagreements between the parents. Sometimes, one parent accuses the other of not following the order when that parent was just following a different part of the order. Not following the order is called “being in contempt.” It’s a serious problem that can get you into deep trouble in Texas courts.

A Motion to Clarify

If your child custody order doesn’t make sense to you or the other parent, or if it’s causing conflict in your custody arrangement, there are actions you can take. Texas law allows parents and their attorneys to file something called a “motion to clarify.” The motion asks a court to clarify an order if the court finds that the order is not specific enough and that one parent could be held in contempt if the order was clarified.
Your lawyer can help you seek a motion to clarify before the court finds that one parent is in contempt, as part of a contempt proceeding, or after a denial of a motion for contempt.

What a Motion to Clarify Doesn’t Do

When the court grants the motion to clarify, it simply rules to change the order to be less confusing. There are things that a motion to clarify does not do, including:

  • Substantively change the order: A change in a court order is called a “child custody modification.” If you would like the order changed so that the terms of the arrangement are different, seeking a modification is probably a better fit for you. Talk with your attorney.
  • Apply retroactively to hold a parent in contempt: The order only applies going forward, so you can’t ask the court to clarify the order, and then immediately hold the other parent accountable for not following it in the past.

Get a Lawyer’s Help for Confusing Child Custody Orders

When a child custody order is confusing, it’s best to get legal help. Following only your interpretation of the order can lead to trouble. And if the other parent isn’t following the order because of confusion, get legal help too. Your attorney can protect your interests and your relationship with your child. Start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125.

Sources:
https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.157.htm
https://texaslawhelp.org/article/clarifying-visitation-orders-answers-common-questions#toc-2