Child Custody

Fort Worth Child Custody Lawyer

Protecting the Legal Rights of Parents in Tarrant, Parker, Johnson, Wise, Hood, Denton, Somervell, and Jack County

Unlike homes, cars, and money, your children cannot be replaced. Whether you are an unwed parent seeking to protect your parental rights or a divorcing parent concerned about your child's future, it is important to have the counsel of a knowledgeable Fort Worth child custody attorney.

At the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC, we recognize how important it is for you to balance your own interests with those of your children and to find a parenting arrangement that achieves that harmony. Whether that can be achieved through an amicable settlement or it is necessary to fight it out in court, our Texas child custody lawyers near you are prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect your rights.

Call (817) 497-8148 to schedule a consultation with our Fort Worth child custody lawyers today.

Personalized Representation for Child Custody Cases in Fort Worth, TX

There is nothing more personal than your relationship with your children. We understand how important this is to you and will provide you with the one-on-one representation you need from a knowledgeable child custody attorney in Fort Worth, TX.

At Law Offices Of Mark M. Childress, we handle all aspects of child custody, including:

Our Fort Worth child custody lawyers will identify your goals as a parent, as well as the needs of your child, to make sure that a favorable settlement or verdict can be reached.

Conservatorship in Texas

Child custody laws look slightly different here in Texas. Child custody is known as “conservatorship,” the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent. You may have heard of the term “custodial parent,” but the courts here refer to a child’s parent as a “conservator.”

Conservatorship includes the right to:

  • Get information from the other parent of the child about the health, education, and welfare of the child;
  • Have access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child;
  • Talk to a physician, dentist, or psychologist about the child;
  • Talk to school officials concerning the child's welfare and educational status, including school activities; and
  • Consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involves an immediate danger to the child's health and safety.

There are two primary types of conservatorships: joint managing conservatorship and sole managing conservatorship. Under Texas law, the courts will presume joint managing conservators; however, the child's best interest is the main deciding factor.

How Is Child Custody Determined in Texas?

Child custody cases, otherwise known as conservatorship in Texas, are sometimes the most contested cases. Some parents become so focused on “winning” that they neglect what matters most— their kids.

If parents are unable to resolve issues on their own, the courts will make a decision based on the best interests of the child.

Best Interests of the Child Standard

According to the Texas Statutes, the court presumes joint managing conservators. Research has shown that children do better when they maintain a relationship with both parents. However, they will consider the best interest of the child above all else.

Family courts look at many factors to determine child custody, including the following:

  • The child’s wishes if he or she is 12 years or older;
  • Any past, current or future emotional and physical danger to the child;
  • The relationship between each parent and the child;
  • Each parent’s ability to care for the child;
  • The health, safety, and welfare of the child;
  • Each parent’s ability to promote the best interest of the child;
  • The stability of each parent’s home; and
  • Any other relevant factors.

Courts are most likely to ensure that children will have continuing contact with parents who have demonstrated their ability to promote the best interests of the child.

Before getting to this stage, we recommend negotiations and mediation. It can be difficult for children to see their parents go through a contentious custody battle, especially when a resolution could potentially be reached another way.

Our skilled and compassionate child custody attorneys in Fort Worth are prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect your rights and that of your child.​

Creative Custody, Possession & Access Schedules

In our global economy, parents’ schedules are drifting away from the traditional 9 to 5, especially for parents with occupations in law enforcement, emergency services, or the military. One of our strengths is our ability to work with both parents to arrive at custody schedules that preserve parent-child relationships despite the challenges presented by their schedules.

Joint Custody (Joint Managing Conservatorship)

There are two components to joint custody: joint legal custody and joint physical custody:

  1. Joint legal custody empowers both parents to make decisions about how their child is raised and cared for. This includes decisions about education, health care, and religion.
  2. Joint physical custody refers to where the child lives. Joint custody does not necessarily mean that the child will live with each parent 50% of the time. Arrangements can be made to fit the needs of all parties – most importantly the children.

The key to making any joint custody arrangement successful and long-lasting is to put in the time on the front end to understand the needs of everyone involved. This is a strength of our Fort Worth child custody attorneys, as we are committed to providing our clients with the attentive service they deserve.

Sole Custody (Sole Managing Conservatorship)

"I want sole custody."

This is perhaps one of the most uttered phrases by parents who are approaching a divorce or separation.

However, decisions regarding child custody, visitation, possession, and access will not be made based on what the parents want – they will be made according to Texas family law, which bases custody decisions on the child’s best interests.

In almost all cases, sole custody will not meet that standard. The default view is that it is in the best interest of the child to have both parents play an active role in their life.

Exceptions to that rule include situations where a parent is:

  • Physically or emotionally abusive
  • Incarcerated
  • Struggling with uncontrolled substance abuse

In our experience, most parents who use the term "sole custody" are really seeking primary physical custody. This is a much more realistic goal than sole custody in almost all cases. If you believe it is in your best interest to be the primary caregiver for your child while the other parent has visitation and access rights, our child custody lawyers in Fort Worth, TX can help you explore your options.

Visitation (Possession and Access)

In Texas, visitation is called possession and access. A judge will create a visitation schedule, known as the standard possession order, which the parents can agree upon. 

The parent with physical custody is called the “possessory conservator,” and the child will reside with that parent. Typically, the non-custodial parent will exercise visitation on alternating weekends or every other weekend.

Reasons a Judge Will Change Custody

In Texas, there are three primary justifications for which custody can be revised:

  • There has been a substantial change in circumstances involving the child’s or parent’s life;
  • The child has expressed to the court that he or she wishes to revise the existing custody or visitation orders (children above the age of 12 usually have more weight behind their wish); and
  • One parent voluntarily relinquishes his or her rights to the child.

Texas Laws Regarding Parental Relocation & Child Custody

In Texas, if there are no pre-existing legal prohibitions, it may be possible for a custodial parent to move out of the state with his or her child. However, the other parent may need to provide consent before the move can be made. Additionally, both parents will likely have to agree on a revised visitation schedule with a judge’s approval.

Courts will consider a variety of factors before deciding whether to allow the move if the noncustodial parent objects.

If a child is to be moved out of state, a court may reject the move on those grounds alone. This may be true even if the child is being moved just beyond state lines. Another factor may be how far the child is being moved. For instance, if the child is being moved less than 100 miles, the move may be allowed.

Assuming there was no prior consent to move the child, the custodial parent may need to inform the other parent about the move in writing before leaving. The notice period is typically between 30 to 90 days before the move. If the custodial parent objects and there are no existing orders that establish a geographical restriction, the move may be allowed. However, this move must be proven to be in good faith.

Examples of good faith include:

  • Moving to an area with a lower cost of living;
  • Moving back to your hometown to reconnect with family; or
  • Moving to take a new job.

Who Gets Temporary Custody During Divorce?

In Texas, custody arrangements while a divorce is pending are typically addressed through temporary orders issued by the court. These temporary orders establish temporary custody, visitation schedules, child support, and other relevant matters until a final divorce decree is issued. 

Here's how custody works during a divorce proceeding in Texas:

  • Temporary orders: Either spouse can file a motion for temporary orders, which outline custody arrangements, visitation schedules, and other issues related to the children while the divorce is pending. These orders may also address temporary child support and spousal support.
  • Best interests of the child: The court will determine temporary custody arrangements based on the best interests of the child. Factors considered include the child's emotional and physical needs, the parents' ability to care for the child, the child's relationship with each parent, and any history of family violence or abuse.
  • Mediation: In some cases, the court may require mediation to help parents reach an agreement on temporary custody and visitation. Mediation allows parents to work together with a neutral mediator to develop a parenting plan that serves the child's best interests.
  • Temporary orders hearing: If parents cannot agree on temporary custody arrangements, the court will hold a temporary orders hearing to decide the matter. Both parents will have the opportunity to present evidence and arguments to support their proposed custody arrangements.
  • Court decision: After considering the evidence presented at the temporary orders hearing, the court will issue temporary orders regarding custody, visitation, and support. These orders remain in effect until a final divorce decree is issued, at which point permanent custody arrangements will be established.
  • Modification: Temporary custody orders can be modified if circumstances change or if one parent demonstrates that the existing orders are no longer in the child's best interests. However, modifications require a significant change in circumstances and must be approved by the court.

Ultimately, the goal of temporary custody arrangements is to ensure the child's well-being and safety while the divorce is pending. Temporary orders can provide structure and guidance until a final resolution is reached. The court may award temporary custody to one parent or both parents jointly, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

Contact Our Fort Worth Custody Attorneys Today

In the midst of an emotionally challenging child custody dispute, enlisting the support of a reputable law firm can make all the difference. With our extensive knowledge, unwavering advocacy, and expertise in navigating the intricate landscape of family law, the Law Office of Mark M. Childress is dedicated to helping parents in Fort Worth secure the best possible outcomes for their children. 

From providing sound legal advice to skillfully representing clients in negotiations and courtrooms, we are committed to safeguarding parental rights and prioritizing the well-being of the child. Trust our experienced team to guide you through the complexities, providing compassionate support and strategic representation every step of the way.

Our Fort Worth child custody attorneys are here for residents of Tarrant, Parker, Johnson, Wise, Hood, Denton, Somervell, and Jack Counties.

For a consultation with our Fort Worth child custody lawyers, call (817) 497-8148or contact us online.

Related Reading

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The Opinions That Matter Most

  • My questions were heard and answered without having to ask twice.

    “Value a capable team with experienced staff. For the past 9 months, the folks at the Law Offices of Mark Childress handled my case with class and empathy. My questions were heard and answered without having to ask twice. I felt like I was kept in the loop and always briefed properly. As I move forward with other ventures I wouldn't be surprised if we crossed paths again. And hats off to Konner, THANK YOU!”

  • Mark was there to answer every question, every phone call and did it in a way that I felt as if I were his only client.

    “I needed an attorney who would stand up for me and my child during a very hard time. Mark was there to answer every question, every phone call and did it in a way that I felt as if I were his only client. He was very knowledgeable not only about the law but about the opposing attorney and the judge. He prepared me well and we won our case. I would recommend Mark Childress to anyone who is fighting for custody or in need of child support.”

  • I highly recommend him and his staff. They are courteous, prompt and they care.

    “I called in inquiring about a divorce and how it all happens. I had 2 people call me back within an hour and in an hour maybe 2 I was talking with the lawyer. I highly recommend him and his staff. They are courteous, prompt and they care. Divorce is the hardest thing we will go through minus losing a kid and his team will be retained. He even called me back himself the next day to see how I was. Great service.”

  • This guy is amazing. In a matter of minutes, he accomplished what no other attorney could in 6 years.

    “This guy is amazing. In a matter of minutes, he accomplished what no other attorney could in 6 years. He had my case figured out in 1short conversation and had what he called "a convoluted mess" fixed. I'm pretty sure my ex felt like he'd been hit by a bus. My family is finally in tact and everyone is finally happy.”

Why Choose Us For Your Family Matters?
  • Direct Access To Your Attorney

    Our Attorneys personally handle each case themselves. You will have direct access to your attorney to be able to get the answers that you need. 

  • Transparency
    Honesty and transparency are critical in building trust with your attorney. You will always know what is going on with your case every step of the way.
  • Team Oriented

    At our firm you're not just a case number, our staff will always know the status of your case and help to make your situation more manageable.

  • Personalized Approach
    Our team understands that no two cases are the same. Your strategy will be tailored specifically to you and your family's goals.