A Midland, Texas Child Custody Lawyer You Can Trust
If you are going through a divorce in Midland, Texas, you want to protect the best interests of your children by retaining an experienced, compassionate family law attorney. Your attorney will bring your case to the judge to request a court-ordered conservatorship, which establishes child custody.
At The Law Office of Laura A. Carpenter, our family law attorneys, paralegals, and support staff have decades of combined practice experience in helping our Midland clients deal with the most challenging issues related to divorce, conservatorship, child support, adoption, federal court civil litigation, and more. We can protect your children, as well as your parental rights, all while maintaining the highest ethical standards.
What Is Conservatorship?
Texas courts recognize three types of conservators:
- Joint Managing Conservator
- Sole Managing Conservator
- Possessory Conservator
In the Lone Star state, a conservatorship determines the court-ordered rights and duties not only of parents but also of all parties named in the lawsuit. These may include the grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, or siblings of the minor children concerned.
The norm is for both parents to be Joint Managing Conservators, which is when both parents share in making major parenting decisions. This is not the same as the amount of time the children will physically spend with each parent, which is a separate court order called possession (and child visitation).
The possession order usually names one parent as the custodial parent and the other as the non-custodial parent.
In cases where the judge believes that only one parent is fit to make parenting decisions, the judge will name that parent (or possibly another family member) as the Sole Managing Conservator of the minor children. These rulings most often occur when one parent has been largely absent from the child's life or has perpetrated family violence, child abuse, or alcohol or drug abuse.
It is up to the attorneys to make these cases on behalf of their clients who are seeking to be Sole Managing Conservators. For this reason, working with experienced attorneys at a reputable Midland firm is essential to your case.
How Does the Court Decide Which Parties to Name as Conservators?
When determining who will have access to minors after a divorce, a judge will consider several factors that attorneys will present on behalf of their clients. Texas laws treat fathers and mothers equally. A judge will evaluate the child’s preferences, the quality of all relationships with the minor, the health of all parties, and other considerations.
Attorneys for each parent will present cases arguing for the rights of their respective clients.
The Child's Best Interests
When deciding how to allocate the rights and duties of parents and family members, the judge will always keep in mind the child's best interests. To ascertain those, the judge will look at the minor’s physical, psychological, and emotional needs. In practice, the allocation of rights and duties depends on the minor child's educational, medical, and behavioral history. Attorneys will build these cases on behalf of their clients.
The Child’s Preference
Once a minor reaches the age of 12, a Texas judge may admit an affidavit executed by the minor into evidence. In the affidavit, the minor may state a preference regarding future living arrangements. The amount of weight that the affidavit will carry depends on the age and maturity of the signator. However, an affidavit represents just one of several factors that the judge will examine.
Relationships with the Minor
During conservatorship proceedings, the family law judge will compare the relationships between the minors and those seeking to become conservators. In general, named parties must demonstrate full commitment to parenting the children. The judge will also examine the relational history of all parties involved, including that between spouses both before and after the divorce.
When deciding with whom a minor will reside after a divorce, the judge will evaluate the living situations of each adult. For example, a family member who owns a home in a safe neighborhood and can offer the children their own bedroom might have an advantage over a family member who rents a studio apartment in a dangerous neighborhood.
Another consideration involves divorced co-parents and the proximity of their homes to each other. If Joint Managing Conservators live too far away from one another, the judge may award unequal time with the minor children due to educational, medical, and psychological concerns. Co-parents that live close to each other in or around Midland, TX, are more likely to receive equal time.
Before issuing an order, a Texas judge will examine the health of all parties, including the children. Family members who seek conservatorship of a minor but find themselves physically unable to care for the children stand at a disadvantage. Those parents who have exhibited mental health issues resulting in drug or alcohol abuse, child abuse, or domestic violence stand to lose conservatorship and perhaps visitation rights.
The physical and mental health of the minor also factors into the court’s decision as well. A parent who is ill-equipped to care for a son or daughter with disabilities may not be eligible for conservatorship.
The relative cooperativeness of parents can affect the outcome of a conservatorship case in Midland, Texas. Parents who do not cooperate and stick to a court-ordered possession schedule may find their rights limited in later proceedings.
How Does the Family Court Determine the Fitness of a Parent?
The fitness of a parent may determine the type of conservatorship, if any, that the parent receives after a divorce in Midland, Texas. Under Texas law, a judge will deem a parent unfit if they find that the parent can not provide the conditions necessary to maintain their son or daughter's physical, mental, and emotional health. Some of the conditions that a judge may deem unsafe include:
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Psychological or emotional abuse
- Illegal drug use and other criminal behavior
- Child neglect
- Unhealthy living conditions
Our experienced family law attorneys at the Laura A. Carpenter law firm will help clients collect evidence or rebut accusations of unfitness.
The Benefits of Hiring a Family Law Firm
Retaining experienced attorneys can make all the difference in your Midland divorce and conservatorship case. Below, discover some of the main benefits of hiring an experienced family law advocate in Midland, TX.
Speedy Resolution of Your Case
Hiring seasoned family law attorneys after a divorce can help speed up your conservatorship case. Experienced attorneys possess the legal knowledge to avoid common pitfalls that might otherwise delay the resolution of your case.
Reliable Legal Advice
Experienced divorce attorneys provide critical advice to help clients prevent adverse legal outcomes. A divorcing parent with children should engage a reputable law practice immediately to sidestep common mistakes that many clients make by not knowing the laws.
Peace of Mind
Putting your legal issues in the hands of experienced attorneys can provide peace of mind. Your attorney will let you know if your case is promising and will guide you through the challenging legal process.
Retain an Aggressive Child Custody Lawyer in Midland, TX
Protect your minor children by hiring an aggressive conservatorship and child support attorney serving Midland, Texas. With over two decades of relevant practice experience in Texas, Laura A. Carpenter has established herself among her clients as a supremely competent civil litigation attorney who holds everyone around her to the highest ethical standards.