Child custody laws can be incredibly complex to sift through on your own and become even more confusing when laws vary between states. But because of how important this decision is, you deserve to understand all your options. To help you make the best choices for you and your child, read on to learn about the different child custody options in Texas.
As a whole, custody is comprised of physical and legal custody. Legal custody is the ability to make life decisions and long-term plans for the child. Physical custody means a guardian has the right to have the child live with them and take charge of their everyday needs. Sole custody is made up of both physical and legal custody, meaning the child has only one primary residence.
Joint custody breaks down into three separate categories known as joint legal, shared physical, and combination. Joint legal custody is where the parents both care for the child’s upbringing, but the child permanently lives with only one parent. With shared physical custody, the child has two residences and must spend at least 35 percent of their time with the non-primary guardian. Combination custody can be a combination of joint legal and shared physical custody.
Temporary custody is ordered before beginning the litigation process and is not the final award of custody. This form of custody is in the child’s best interest and ensures they have a consistent home life while their parents wait for court hearings and proceedings.
Split custody occurs when there is more than one child. Each parent obtains full custody over one of the children, typically decided by age or the child’s preferences. For example, a mother will likely have sole custody of her newborn, while the father may have sole custody over their eldest child.
If both parents are not present, are deceased, or are both deemed unfit, the child can live with another close relative or guardian. However, in order to be awarded legal custody, the guardian must have the child in their care for at least six months. Other close relatives also have the right to sue for custody.
As you can see, there are quite a few child custody options in Texas, and none of them are guaranteed. That’s where a child custody lawyer can help. At Northern Legal, we’re dedicated to helping you work through this difficult process so that you and your child can have the best future together.