Requesting conservatorship of your child can devolve into a messy and complicated legal battle.
If you plan on filing a petition requesting conservatorship, there is important information you need to know in order to maximize your chances of being successful.
The experienced family law attorneys at The Stout Law Firm have successfully advocated for many clients and can help explain the process when requesting conservatorship of a child in Texas.
Filing a Petition in Texas
A petition for conservatorship can be filed in Texas so long as the child resides in the state and has resided in the state for at least six months prior to the filing. What county you file in is determined by where you have resided for the preceding ninety days.
Your lawyer can help you fill out all of the proper paperwork to seek conservatorship of your child, including a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR); requesting conservatorship in your divorce petition; or modifying a prior order establishing conservatorship.
The process differs depending on what type of lawsuit is appropriate for your situation.
The other party will have an opportunity to respond to the petition with an answer, counterpetition, or denial with the court. Additional documentation may be requested by the judge overseeing the case before moving the case to mediation or trial.
When conservatorship is at issue, most courts require the parties attend mediation prior to trial to try and reach an agreement. You will need an experienced family law attorney by your side through this process to ensure that your rights and needs are being fully represented in court and with the opposing side.
Factors Considered in Cases Involving Conservatorship
Texas law requires that the court consider all relevant factors to the child’s best interest when determining conservatorship.
This can include:
- a home evaluation,
- the fitness of a party,
- the capacity to work together to raise the child,
- employment situations and,
- the child’s preference.
Other factors considered by the court in child custody cases includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- The current and future emotional and physical needs of the child;
- Any current or future emotional and physical danger to the child;
- The parenting abilities of each parent;
- The programs available to assist each parent to promote the best interest of the child;
- The plans for the child by each parent;
- The stability of the proposed home; and
- Any acts or omissions of the parent that may indicate parental unfitness, and any explanations for such acts or omissions
It is important that you begin gathering evidence to support your position. You will need to prove to the court your ability to provide for the child physically, emotionally, and financially.
This might include medical records, employment history, financial records, and any applicable police reports. You might also consider hiring an outside expert to testify on your behalf, such as a psychologist, to support your claims.
Types of Conservatorship Awarded in Texas
There are many different things to consider with an award of conservatorship. Conservatorship addresses a party’s right to make decisions about the child’s day to day upbringing. This will include the ability to make decisions about the child’s education, religion, medical treatment, and extracurricular activities.
With conservatorship also comes a decision about which party has the right to have the child reside with them. Once it is determined where the child will reside, a decision will be made regarding the other party’s right to have physical possession of the child. This is referred to as a possession order.
Texas law presumes that an award of joint managing conservatorship is ideal for a child, unless there is evidence to the contrary. Joint managing conservatorship encourages the parties to come together and make decisions for the child.
However, when that is not appropriate, a party can be named a sole managing conservator giving that party a greater power in making relevant decisions about the child’s life.
Do You Need Help Filing for Conservatorship of a Child? We Can Help.
If you would like more information about how to file for conservatorship or need help filing your divorce case, our office is here to help. Call or contact The Stout Law Firm in Houston to schedule a consultation today. Together, we can start working towards solving your legal matter.