UPDATED: September 9, 2021
Issues in Child Custody and Visitation
Child Custody and Visitation is often a heated topic during divorce proceedings. It’s not only complex for the parents, but can also produce unnecessary pain for a child when the proceedings are handled badly. That is why it is so important to make sure that your attorney will be both thorough and assertive when fighting for your rights – each case is different, so a personalized touch is always needed.
There are a variety of issues that can come up when determining the parents’ Custody and Visitation rights, including:
- Parenting Plans – Parenting plans can be crafted to create the foundation for the process of decision-making and time with children. While parenting plans may be adjusted as the child’s needs change, it’s important to have this done so that the process is is clear, pre-established, and gentle for your child. The Texas Attorney General’s website offers some helpful resources for preparing for a successful co-parenting experience.
- Child Support — The amount of child support can be affected by many variables including the financial situation of the parents and the needs of the child. Significant changes in the financial circumstances for the custodial or non-custodial parent might require updates to the child support.
- Contested Custody Disputes — While we would love for every situation to be amicable, we know this is not always the case. It’s essential that parents get their lawyer’s help in establishing their rights and duties, possession schedules, and set child support for their children.
- Parental Relocation — Moving across state lines or to a different country with your child may require the court’s permission. Even if you only want to move to a different city in Texas with your child, you may be required to obtain the court’s approval. This will usually require updates to the child custody and visitation agreement.
- Interstate and International Custody — Multi-jurisdictional issues and disputes, including, but not limited to child abduction/Hague Convention cases, are naturally complicated. Capps Law is equipped to help clients through these particular challenges. You can read more about it on our blog.
- Grandparent Rights — Family relationships beyond just the parent–child relationship are important, and sometimes central in a divorce case. It’s important for grandparents seeking to protect their relationships with their grandchildren to get legal assistance.
- Paternity — Before a biological father can obtain any access and visitation rights by law, he must first legally establish paternity. Without a court order, the father’s rights may be at the whim of the mother. Consult your lawyer to walk through your options.
Jurisdiction for Texas Child Custody Cases
As a child custody attorney in Austin, Texas, we primarily work with clients in Central Texas, but also serve families throughout Texas. Some clients are involved in child custody litigation with parties who live out of state. Whenever a party to child custody litigation resides in another state or country, “jurisdictional” issues often arise, and can be the source of great controversy and contention.
Determining Texas Jurisdiction
Subject matter jurisdiction in Texas child custody cases is determined by the amount of time a child has spent in a particular state. In an original custody proceeding, Texas courts can assume subject matter jurisdiction according to a hierarchical ladder of situations. The first is that the child must have lived in Texas for the last six months prior to filing the lawsuit (or since the child’s birth, if the child is less than six months old). When the child hasn’t been in any state for the previous six months, other parts of the ladder apply. Once Texas courts have determined that it has jurisdiction to hear a particular child custody case, then the court has “exclusive continuing jurisdiction” over the case.
Texas jurisdiction is very important, since the parent who lives in Texas does not usually want to go to another state to litigate issues regarding child custody or visitation. Any parent living in Texas who finds himself/herself involved in a custody or visitation dispute while the child lives in another state should discuss these issues at length with an attorney.
Kelly J. Capps Understands Blended Families
Founding attorney Kelly J. Capps is keenly aware of how divorce impacts children. She says:
“My parents divorced when I was six years old. Both of my parents remarried right away, and in fact, my father remarried several times. With my father remarrying multiple times, I experienced new relationships with my step-siblings. I’ve lived in every type of blended family imaginable. I understand having to go to the airport on Christmas day or racing home from vacation for a 6 p.m. exchange.
What I’ve learned from my experience and watching my parents is that regardless of how angry you are with your spouse, sad that you’re divorced, you need to be able to resolve the divorce on the most amicable terms possible for the benefit of the children. Chances are, doing so means that as your children grow and develop their own lives, both parents and possibly their new spouses, will be able to be involved in their grown children’s lives. Everyone’s better off if those interactions can be positive.”
Kelly J. Capps is an experienced family law attorney. She works hard to find the best path for her clients to move their family forward. Our goal in every child custody dispute is to help our client resolve the situation in a way that fosters positive relationships with his or her children and preserves a working relationship with the other parent.