Getting married can be the best day of your life, aside from having your children. Likewise, getting divorced can be the worst day of your life. Signing your final divorce papers can be very painful. You start to wonder if you’re doing the right thing. You think back to all the good times you have. This is why you should have a Houston Child Custody lawyer there with you. They can be the unemotional, objective person you need by your side.
Part of your final divorce package is determining child custody. Before your divorce is finalized, your divorce lawyer in Houston will negotiate a fair custody arrangement with your spouse’s lawyer. This arrangement is agreed upon before your final divorce hearing. If you can’t agree on custody, you may have to go to trial.
Unfortunately, in many divorces, the parties can’t agree on custody. One parent may demand full custody. They may even ask the court to limit the other parent’s custody to minimal visitation. The court is never happy to do this. They want to keep families together – not tear them apart.
If you’re afraid you may not get custody of your kids, you need to talk to an experienced family law attorney in Houston.
How is Custody Determined in Texas?
When a couple gets divorced, if they have kids, they need to figure out custody. Very rarely will a court ever approve an arrangement where one parent doesn’t get to see their children. So, whatever arrangement your attorney negotiates, has to be fair to both parents.
You may be worried that your ex will try to keep the kids from you. The good news is that judges hate to keep children away from their parents. They believe firmly that kids need to spend time with both parents.
However, there are some things you can do that may jeopardize your having custody of your children. You need to avoid doing these things at all costs. And, if you have these things in your past, let your Houston family lawyer know right away. You don’t want them to be blindsided in court.
Basically, anything you do that makes the judge question your character can hurt your chances of getting custody. The judge’s main concern is whatever is in the best interests of the kids. Every decision they make will take this into account.
What Things Can Jeopardize Your Custody?
When the judge determines who will have custody of your kids, they’ll look at every aspect of your life. They need to make sure that the kids spend a majority of their time with the parent who is better able to care for them.
If you give the judge a reason to think you could be dangerous for your kids, you could ruin our chances of getting it. Some of the things that can do this include the following:
- You have a serious drug problem
- You have a criminal background
- You are unemployed and have been for quite some time
- You have recent DUI or serious traffic offenses
- You are living with someone the judge doesn’t think should be around your children
- You’ve committed domestic violence against your spouse or children
If any of these things apply to your situation, you need to talk to your Houston family lawyer. They need to do what they can to prepare for your trial. If you can’t come to an agreement on custody, your attorney will have to explain these things to the judge. They’ll also need to convince the judge that you are not a threat or danger to your children.
It’s Best to Settle Custody Out of Court
Rather than leave custody decisions in the judge’s hands, you’re better off coming to an agreement with your ex. Never let a judge decide something you can resolve yourself. This is because, odds are, there’s a 50% chance that you won’t be happy with the judge’s decision.
Your Houston family lawyer will work hard to settle custody. They’ll include the terms of custody in your Marital Settlement Agreement. Because custody is so important, you don’t want to handle it yourself. Contact an experienced family law attorney in Houston, Texas. They can stand by your side throughout the entire divorce process.
If you aren’t happy with the custody arrangement, you can always file a motion later to modify it. However, why bother to go the time and trouble of doing that? Let a skilled lawyer at Eddington & Worley handle it for you the first time around.