If you are a Texas resident who is seeking custody of a child, you will need to understand the applicable laws. The more informed you are, the better you can prepare for the process.
Who can file for child custody?
In Texas, there are specific rules about who can file for child custody. All the parties who can file must have a clear interest in the well-being of the child. Legally, these include:
- Either parent, including a man who claims to be the father and is seeking to establish paternity
- A legal guardian of the child
- Another relative or person, such as a foster parent if they meet certain other requirements
- A government agency or other institution with an interest in the child
How do you file for custody?
There are only three ways that can be used to file for custody. You can file for custody when you file a divorce petition. You can also file a case to establish paternity. Finally, if you are not married to the child’s other parent, you can file a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship.
How is child custody decided?
Child custody can be decided by agreement between the two parents and then approved by the court. If the matter goes to court, mediation might be ordered. If parents reach an agreement in mediation, the court will usually approve it. Finally, if they cannot reach an agreement, custody might be decided by a judge. If a judge is the one making the decision, they might look at other factors, including:
- The preference of the child
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- Each parent’s home environment
- Each parent’s work responsibility and parenting ability
Custody is not guaranteed to either parent. There are additional rules regarding modifying custody orders as well as visitation, or access and possession, of the child.