Handling a custody dispute can be an emotional and stressful process that puts your child at risk. Fortunately, our firm our main focus is to protect the best interests of your children during these legal disputes. Whether you were never married to your co-parent or are going through a divorce, one of our dedicated family law attorneys could help resolve these disputes and work hard to protect your relationship with your child. The guidance of a Pearland child custody lawyer could be invaluable when it comes to protecting your rights as a parent.

Understanding Conservatorship

It is helpful to understand that many of the terms used in conjunction with child custody cases in Pearland are not the same as those used in other states. In fact, the courts do not refer to it as custody at all. To that end, courts now refer to decisions regarding custody as conservatorship of the child. Instead of breaking down the rights of a parent into legal and physical custody, the courts refer to these terms as managing and possessory conservatorship.

Despite the changes in terminology, the concept of conservatorship is virtually the same as custody. There are two different types of conservatorship when it comes to minor children, and the court will make a determination regarding both. An attorney in Pearland could help a parent fight for a fair outcome to their child custody dispute during a conservatorship hearing.

Managing Conservatorship

Managing conservatorship, or legal custody, is the right of a parent to make important decisions regarding their child’s life. These decisions involve anything from the child’s education to their religious upbringing. Healthcare and cultural decisions also fall under this category of custody.

Under state law, there is a presumption that it is in the best interests of the child for both parents to share managing conservatorship. This means each parent would have an equal say in making these important decisions on behalf of their child. Despite this presumption, a parent is never guaranteed joint managing conservatorship. The court making this decision must ultimately act in the best interests of the child. If the judge determines that both parents equally sharing these rights is not in the child’s best interests, the judge is empowered to award one parent sole conservatorship.

Possessory Conservatorship

Possessory conservatorship, or physical custody, determines where a child will reside at any given time. The courts often give parents substantial leeway in developing a plan for possessory conservatorship. If the parents are able to work out a schedule that the court believes to be in the best interests of the child, it will often agree to this agreement. When there is a dispute, the judge ultimately determines possessory conservatorship based on what they believe to be are the child’s best interests.

How Custody is Determined

As previously stated, custody is granted based on the best interests of the child. This means that while the court may entertain a parent’s preference, their obligation it so put the child’s needs first.

There are different factors the court may consider when determining the child’s best interests. This includes evaluating the relationship a child has with each parent. The court will also look to the child’s health and safety, including whether or not there is any history of child abuse from either parent. If one parent does have a history or abuse or other criminal activity, the court may not grant this party custody but could order supervised visitation.

A court may also consider the parents’ financial situation and how close the parents live to each other. The court take the child’s wishes into account if they are at least age 12 or older. A lawyer in Pearland could determine what factors a judge may consider in a particular child custody case and advise a parent throughout this process.

Contact a Pearland Child Custody Attorney Today

If you are dealing with child custody issues, you have the right to have an attorney advise you during this process. The guidance of legal counsel could help you avoid harmful mistakes and give you the best chance to secure the outcome that you believe is best for your child. Do not put the custody of your child at risk by acting as your own attorney. Contact a Pearland child custody lawyer today.