Child Custody in Austin, Texas

Making the tough decision of who will get custody of the kids can be an emotionally draining process for both parents and children. Visitation and child custody are judicial terms that refer to how much time a parent is allowed with their offspring after they separate.

No matter whether it’s a divorce, or an unmarried separation, the procedures for custody remain more-or-less uniform. Thus, it is important to familiarize yourself with the below prior to commencing any custody proceedings in court.


In Texas, the law does not favor one parent over the other. Rather, it evaluates the relationship of both parents to their child in order to make a decision about custody. There is an inherent presumption that favors natural parents when grandparents or any other individuals attempt to gain custody of a child; however, this is by no means definitive and can be challenged in court if necessary.

Given this, the courts are likely to favor biological parents in any dispute. As a result, if you are divorcing and have children involved, it is absolutely essential that your divorce lawyer has experience with child custody issues and can handle them proficiently during your proceedings.

Here are the different types of Texas child custody:

Sole Custody:

Custody is generally divided into two types: legal and physical. The individual with legal custody has the power to make decisions in regard to major factors such as education, religious instruction, non-emergency medical care, and other crucial elements of a child’s life. Those with physical custody are responsible for making everyday choices that involve the welfare of their children and have them living primarily under their roof. In cases where one parent assumes both legal AND physical responsibility for a child, this is referred to as Sole Custody – meaning that they will be residing solely at one home address permanently.

Joint Custody:

When it comes to joint custody, there are three distinct types: Joint Legal Custody, Shared Physical Custody, and the Combination of both.

Joint Legal Custody:

It is an arrangement wherein both parents are involved in the decision-making when it comes to raising their children. Even so, only one parent has a permanent residence for the minor.

When Parents Share Legal Custody:

The child is guaranteed to spend at least 35% of their time with each parent. In this arrangement, they have two residences and are able to maintain more stability in both households as a result.

Create a tailored joint custody arrangement that will best fit your family’s needs. You can choose any combination of shared physical and legal guardianship to make this work for you, like one residence for the child where both parents switch off living there with them periodically.

When it comes to Joint Custody agreements, the court takes extra care. If there is frequent arguing regarding religious matters or schooling, chances are your agreement won’t be approved. Furthermore, the court will take into account how dedicated each parent is in their commitment to joint custody; if an element of trading concessions exists between parties on other points, then this could be a possible issue. A further point that shouldn’t go unnoticed would concern any assistance programs – does granting joint custody have the potential to affect these?

Temporary Custody:

In order to ensure the child’s safety and well-being until a court hearing is conducted, temporary custody can be issued. This interim agreement is different from an “official” custodial award due to it being based on the “best interests of the child”, rather than any other factor. Thus, if you are looking for a short-term solution for your situation before litigation begins, then filing for temporary custody may be in your best interest.

Split Custody:

Split custody is often recommended when two children are involved, and each parent has full physical custody of one child. Factors such as the age of the youngsters or even their own preferences can play a role in determining this arrangement.

What are Some of the Factors that the Court Looks at for Custody?

Courts evaluate if the parties genuinely want custody or are just attempting to hurt the other parent, by leveraging it as an approach to control. When making their decision, courts take into account a number of factors such as:

  • Several factors should be taken into account when deciding custody of children, such as the parents’ enthusiasm to equally share it; their physical fitness; the child’s relationships with them; what they prefer; how stable a school and social life can be provided for them; proximity to parent homes (especially during the school year); job requirements (like long working hours or frequent traveling); age and number of children involved in decision-making process; the financial situation of both parties and any potential benefit derived from this agreement.

As family law can be a difficult and unpredictable process, it’s essential to enlist the support of an experienced divorce/custody attorney. Get in touch with the Law Offices of RRK now for your complimentary appointment – here you will receive tailored advice so that you may navigate these turbulent waters confidently.

If you want to explore more on family law subjects, please search or blog here, or continue to our home site at RRK LAW here.

Alison Housten

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