Bringing a child into the world is one of life’s greatest joys but raising a child is challenging, especially when the parents cannot put the child first. Relationships do not always work out, and while you move on, the child still needs both parents present and involved. Divorce and separation are complicated, and the child should not suffer or be a pawn. There are many reasons you will need a child custody attorney, as there are many concerns regarding the child’s upbringing.
There are several ways you can determine custody and other concerns. The child custody lawyers representing each parent will work to reach a plan for the parents. The process is more straightforward when both parties can agree on some or most topics. When the court sees collaboration, the judge will often approve the parenting plan and make it official after they review it.
If there are some issues that both parties cannot agree on, the judge will review each side’s arguments and determine what is in the child’s best interest. Sometimes what is in the child’s best interest is different from what either parent wants; other times, it is somewhere in the middle. The court will review the following factors when deciding on custody matters:
A Fort Worth parenting plan aims to have an effective and healthy co-parenting arrangement. The court wants both parents involved in the upbringing of the child, whether they are together or not. Amicable co-parenting also enhances the relationship that the parent has with the child. If the parents constantly fight, the child may feel they need to choose sides or that they are the problem. Even if you are having difficulties co-parenting, your child should not suffer. Work with a child custody lawyer in Fort Worth, TX, for your child’s future.
The child’s primary residence determines a slew of other issues, and both parents will want to have primary custody. Parents will argue tooth and nail to receive the designation of primary custody because this is where the child will spend most of their time. Primary custody determines where the child spends school nights, where they have a room, and who makes decisions on food, emotional support, and more.
There are various custody arrangements we can address like:
Joint legal custody allows both parents to make every decision regarding the child and joint physical custody means that the parents will have equal parenting time with the child. Joint physical custody does not always result in a 50/50 split, but it does consider the needs of both parents and the child. A custody order can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstance for either parent or one parent who wishes to relinquish parental rights. Modifications are common as the child grows.
There are many concerns you must address in a parenting plan, and you need the best child custody lawyer in Fort Worth to help you. The primary issue is where the child will live most of the time. That is the most contentious topic because that will determine how many other matters will proceed. A child will likely spend most of their time in one home for schooling. Depending on where the parents live, they can split the time between homes if they are near the school.
After a split, some parents will need to move for better opportunities, and the question arises if moving is in the child’s best interest. As children grow, they will acquire various possessions, and while parents will need to buy essentials for either home, there are some possessions they will need to transport back and forth. Other topics you must address are:
You must make many decisions as your child grows, and both parents must work together to reach conclusions that are in the child’s best interest. Parental rights and decision-making are vital concerns to address with your divorce lawyer in Fort Worth.
A parenting plan is unique to the child and parents. There is no one-size-fits-all solution because kids have different interests and needs. Suppose the child is involved in various activities, a parenting plan can outline who must pick up and drop off the child. If your child has special needs, whether a disability, allergy, or routine, you can also address that with a parenting plan. The plan can be as detailed or vague as you need for your child.
Parents will sometimes agree on topics but would like to have it in writing. In other cases, parents do not agree, and they need to come to an agreement and ensure it is in the parenting plan. Parents must make sacrifices and compromises to ensure their child gets the necessary care. Child custody attorneys can help you reach a resolution and create a parenting plan that is not cookie-cutter but solely benefits the child.
The best child custody attorney for you is one who listens and puts your child’s needs first. We can help guide you through the different legal options you have. Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Forth Worth Family Law has skilled litigators ready to fight for you and your child. We will work with you, your former partner, and the legal system to devise a plan covering all child’s needs. When you have child custody struggles, it is time to contact our firm. Complete our contact form to schedule a consultation.
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When parents can agree on who their children will live with, how to share in rights and decision making, and a parenting time schedule, the Court will often approve this agreement. If parents cannot agree, then the Judge will make custody decisions based on what they believe is in the best interest of the children.
The following factors are frequently considered by Courts in determining a child’s best interest: parenting abilities, plans for the child, home stability, your child’s desires, your child’s emotional and physical needs, and whether there is a concern of emotional and physical danger to your child.
Custody orders in Texas are referred to as a parenting plan. The parenting plan addresses issues such as who your child will live with, what rights each parent has, where your child will go to school, and how the parents will share possession. The parenting plan can be very detailed and address concerns or issues unique to your child. If a parent has problems with drugs or alcohol, this can be addressed in your parenting plan to assure the safety of your child. If your child has special needs, these can be addressed in your parenting plan to assure that your child is properly provided for.
If you are involved in a child custody case, you need an attorney who will fight to protect you and your child’s future. The child custody lawyers at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth have more than 75 years of experience helping families navigate through the family law system, and we will work with you to develop a customized gameplan for your case and for reaching your goals to protect your child.
Being the first to file a case (the Petitioner) provides strategic advantages throughout litigation. At trial, the Petitioner makes their opening statement first, calls their witnesses first, can delay the other party (the Respondent) from speaking until after all the Petitioner’s evidence is presented, and in closing arguments speaks both first and last.
While the Petitioner and Respondent have the same rights and often share the same burden of proof, filing first can certainly help with persuading the Court. Letting the Court know your side of the story first can help when it comes to decisions such as why your children should live primarily with you, why you deserve alimony or why the other party does not need it, or who gets to keep the marital home. If there are facts harmful to your case, filing first allows you to get in front of these and take the sting out of the Respondent’s argument.
Aside from benefits at trial, filing first provides an opportunity to send a message to the Respondent and direct how the case proceeds. Your first filing can indicate a desire to be amicable or can let the other side know you are prepared to fight. Your first filing can also be used to obtain a restraining order or set a hearing before the Respondent even knows a case is filed. Even how you notify the Respondent can impact your case, whether it is with a formal process server at their place of employment or through providing them the opportunity to avoid this scenario and voluntarily accept the filing.
Texas is a community property state. This means when you file for divorce our Courts assume that all property you and your spouse have is owned by the marriage and can be divided. However, if you can prove separate property (e.g., what you had before marriage, gifts you received during marriage or inheritance), then you will have property that the Court cannot take away from you in a divorce.
When property is divided, the Court does so in a manner that the Judge deems “just and right,” considering the rights of each party and any children of the marriage. This does not necessarily mean an equal division between spouses. What one Judge believes is “just and right” may differ from what another Judge right across the hall in the same courthouse believes.
At Mims Ballew Hollingsworth, one of the first things we do in your divorce is finding out what property exists for division. We work with you to obtain information on homes, bank accounts, vehicles, business interests, retirement, stock accounts, debts, and separate property claims. If you are concerned your spouse may be hiding assets we will work with you to find this information and ensure all property is accounted for.
After determining divisible property, the next step is valuation. With some assets, it is not as straight forward as looking at an account balance. Business interests can be difficult to value, home prices are constantly changing, and there may be certain tax implications (capital gains) that need to be assessed.
The process of determining what property is divisible and assessing values can be extremely complex, especially in high-asset divorces. The divorce attorneys at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth are experienced in dividing high-asset estates and will work with you and financial professionals to protect your financial interests.
A contested divorce or family law case does not require costly litigation in a public courtroom. You can resolve contested issues through alternative dispute resolution, such as collaborative law, mediation, or arbitration.
These alternatives are often more cost-efficient when compared to going to court, and can result in a faster resolution to your case (in large counties it is not uncommon to wait over a year before having a final trial due to the court’s docket).
Alternative dispute resolution methods, including mediation, are also confidential and do not take place in a courtroom that is open to public viewing. This can be beneficial for divorces and family law cases involving high-profile individuals (e.g. athletes, celebrities, politicians, etc.) or topics of a sensitive nature (i.e. business trade secrets or high-asset divorces).
Collaborative law is a confidential method of resolving a divorce or child custody case where parties work together through joint sessions with the help of specially trained professionals to assist with resolving financial and parenting issues. The focus is on finding mutually beneficial solutions and sharing information that would normally be kept confidential during litigation. Collaborative law is unique and may not be right for everyone, but for some, it is an effective method to lessen conflict.
Just because your divorce or child custody case is contested does not mean it needs to become high conflict and involve costly public court hearings. The family law attorneys at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth can talk you through these options and develop a plan for resolving your case in through alternative dispute resolution.