Child Custody Attorney

Frequently, the most heart-wrenching and complex facets of a divorce or family law situation revolve around matters concerning children. Ensuring the best interests of your child while protecting your parental rights demands the expertise of a seasoned child custody attorney. At Lighthouse Legal Services, we can help you understand your options when it comes to child custody, visitation, and parenting time in Texas.

Why Choose Lighthouse Legal Services for Your Custody Dispute?

Every child deserves stability, love, and a nurturing environment. At Lighthouse Legal Services, we've dedicated years to championing the rights of parents in child custody cases. Our commitment goes beyond legal representation; we understand the emotional intricacies involved. Start Protecting Your Parental Rights Now! Don’t let another day go by without securing your child’s future. Reach out to Lighthouse Legal Services, and let our experienced child custody attorneys guide you through every step of the process. Contact Us Today!
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Overcoming the Challenges of a Custody Battle

No one enters a marriage hoping for a custody battle. Yet, when disagreements arise, it's crucial to be prepared and that starts with having the right legal team. Custody disputes and custody issues can be emotionally draining. Factors like domestic violence, a history of domestic violence, drug and/or alcohol use or abuse, a history of mental illness, or even actual instances of child abuse can further complicate the situation. In these challenging times, having an experienced child custody lawyer from Lighthouse Legal Services can make a world of difference. Our years of experience as compassionate family law attorneys ensure that your child's well-being and your parental rights are protected.
understanding child custody law texas
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Understanding Child Custody in Texas

Child custody encompasses more than just where a child lives. It's about ensuring their emotional, physical, and mental well-being. In Texas, custody is categorized in various ways:
Types of Child Custody:
  • Joint Legal Custody: In Texas, we call this Joint Managing Conservatorship, and it is presumed to be best for the child unless evidence is presented to the contrary. Both parents share decision-making responsibilities.
  • Sole Legal Custody: In Texas, we call this Sole Managing Conservatorship, and it is presumed to be best for the child if evidence of family violence is presented against a parent.
  • Joint Physical Custody: This is a term commonly used by lay people. However, it signifies a parental agreement where the child spends significant time with both parents. In Texas, it is presumed to be best for the child unless evidence is presented to the contrary.
  • Sole Physical Custody: This is, again, a lay term, but it refers to situations in which one parent has been found to present a danger to the safety or well-being of the child for some reason. In those cases, one Parent will have possession of the child exclusively, or for the vast majority of the time except when the other parent has televisual or supervised visitation.
The establishment of a parenting plan details everything from holiday schedules to daily routines to ensure clarity and consistency for the child(ren).

Rights and Responsibilities in Texas Child Custody

Understanding your rights is essential in a custody case. They are enumerated in the Chapter 151 of the Texas Family Code. They include:
  • The right to have physical possession, to direct the moral and religious training, and to designate the residence of the child;
  • The duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child;
  • The duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, medical and dental care, and education;
  • The duty, except when a guardian of the child's estate has been appointed, to manage the estate of the child, including the right as an agent of the child to act in relation to the child's estate if the child's action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government;
  • Except as provided by Section 264.0111, the right to the services and earnings of the child;
  • The right to consent to the child's marriage, enlistment in the armed forces of the United States, medical and dental care, and psychiatric, psychological, and surgical treatment;
  • The right to represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child;
  • The right to receive and give receipt for payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse funds for the benefit of the child;
  • The right to inherit from and through the child;
  • The right to make decisions concerning the child's education; and
  • Any other right or duty existing between a parent and child by virtue of law.
  • The duty of a parent to support his or her child exists while the child is an unemancipated minor and continues as long as the child is fully enrolled in a secondary school in a program leading toward a high school diploma and complies with attendance requirements described elsewhere in the Family Code.

Common Missteps in Child Custody Cases

The stakes are high in child custody matters. Ensure you're making the best choices for your family's future by avoiding these common mistakes.
Neglecting to Engage a Child Custody Attorney:
One of the most significant oversights during a custody dispute is not enlisting the expertise of a child custody lawyer. With the potential long-term implications for both you and your children, it's vital to have a seasoned child custody attorney who can guide you through the process, ensuring you make informed decisions.
Lack of Cooperation with Your Ex-Partner:
While you don't need to be on the best terms with your former spouse, showing a willingness to collaborate, especially during the custody process, is essential. It demonstrates a commitment to your children's well-being over your own.
Speaking Ill of Your Ex-Partner:
It's natural to have grievances, but it's crucial to avoid negative talk about your ex, particularly in the presence of your children. Such behavior can be perceived as an attempt to estrange the children from the other parent. It has also been demonstrated through extensive research to have a negative impact on your children’s long-term mental and emotional development.
Succumbing to Emotional Outbursts:
The process of combining different systems, tools, or technologies in order to improve efficiency, streamline workflows, or achieve a specific objective.
Not Encouraging Your Children's Relationship with the Other Parent:
The financial gain or benefit that is earned from a business or investment, usually calculated as revenue minus expenses.
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Take the First Step Towards Stability for Your Child!
Every child deserves a loving and stable environment. If you’re facing a custody dispute, it’s time to act. Schedule a consultation with our seasoned attorneys and let us help you build a brighter future for your child.

The Role of the Family Court in Texas

The family court in Texas plays an important role in determining child custody arrangements. Their decisions shape the way negotiations are handled as they will be the tie-breaker if no agreements are reached. Being familiar with the Court’s tendencies and preferences help one know how to present evidence and what will be most persuasive to the Court. The Court considers factors such as the child's age, health, emotional ties, and each parent's ability to provide stability. Whether you're facing a custody dispute or aiming for a smooth agreement, understanding the workings of the family court can be invaluable in presenting or settling your disputes.

Writing a Comprehensive Parenting Plan

A parenting plan is more than just a schedule. It's a detailed document that outlines how parents will co-parent their child as part of the child custody agreement. From deciding on a visitation schedule to determining how major decisions will be made, a well-thought-out parenting plan can reduce future conflicts. At Lighthouse Legal Services, we assist in crafting a plan that respects your time with the child and ensures the child's well-being is prioritized.

Secure a Comprehensive Parenting Plan with Our Help! A well-thought-out parenting plan is essential for reducing future conflicts. Let the attorneys at Lighthouse Legal Services assist you in crafting a plan that prioritizes your child’s well-being and respects your parenting time.

Contact Us to Begin Creating Your Parenting Plan.

Common Questions about Child Custody in Texas

Detailed Explanation of the Custody Process in Texas

Navigating the child custody process in Texas can be intricate, but understanding each step can empower you to make informed decisions. Here's a breakdown:

Initial Filing:

The process begins when one parent files a petition in either a divorce, a modification, or an original Suit Affecting a Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR). This document outlines the desired custody arrangement and the reasons supporting it.


The other parent has the opportunity to file a response, either agreeing with the petition or presenting an alternative arrangement. That usually includes an Original Answer and General Denial.


Both parties will have an opportunity to both request and provide a evidentiary basis for their claims in their petition and/or answer. This often provides the answer to why as opposed to “what” changes should be made and “how” should they be made.


Before heading to court, parents often undergo mediation. Here, a neutral third party facilitates discussions, aiming for a mutually agreeable custody arrangement without court intervention. The resulting document would be a Mediated Settlement Agreement or “MSA.” It is binding on the Court, and the Court will therefore enter a final order on conformity with the terms of the MSA.


If concerns about a child's well-being arise, or at the request of a party, the court may order an evaluation. This involves assessing each parent's home environment, the child's relationship with both parents, and a review of any special needs or circumstances.

Court Hearing:

If no agreement is reached, the case proceeds to court. Both sides present their arguments, and the judge makes a decision based on the child's best interests. This can happen on both a temporary basis too at any point in the litigation.

Final Order:

The judge issues a final order, detailing the custody arrangement, visitation schedule, and any other pertinent details.

Know The Factors Considered in Custody Decisions

child custody factors to consider

The court's primary concern is always the child's best interests. To determine the most suitable custody arrangement, several factors are considered:

  • Child's Preference: Depending on their age and maturity, a child's preference may be taken into account.
  • Parental Ability: The court assesses each parent's ability to provide a stable, loving environment. This includes evaluating their mental and physical health, financial stability, and overall living conditions.
  • History of Domestic Violence: Any history of domestic violence or child abuse is critically examined. The court prioritizes the child's safety above all else.
  • Relationship with the Child: The bond between the child and each parent is evaluated. A strong, positive relationship can influence custody decisions.
  • Stability: The court considers the stability of each parent's home environment, including the presence of other family members and the overall atmosphere.
  • Willingness to Co-Parent: A parent's willingness to cooperate and co-parent effectively can play a significant role in custody decisions.

With the guidance of a child custody lawyer from Lighthouse Legal Services, you can navigate legal issues with confidence. Contact us today.


Benefits of Hiring a Child Custody Attorney

consulting with child custody attorney

The complexities of child custody cases necessitate expert representation in family law cases. Here are the top benefits of hiring a child custody attorney:

  • Expertise: A seasoned child custody lawyer understands the nuances of Texas family law. They can provide invaluable advice of what your particular Court is likely or unlikely to do.  They will ensure you're well-prepared for every stage of the process and that you know and comply with local rules.
  • Advocacy: In court, your attorney will advocate on your behalf, presenting compelling arguments that highlight your suitability as a custodial parent.  They will use their knowledge or the Rules of Evidence to attempt to get your evidence in, exclude objectionable evidence from the opposing party, and gain you an advantage through their trial skills.
  • Negotiation Leverage: Whether it's mediation or informal discussions, an attorney can negotiate effectively, aiming for an arrangement that aligns with your wishes and your child's best interests.  They do so by using what they know about the law, the court, and your case facts to leverage your negotiation position.
  • Documentation: From filing the initial petition to finalizing a custody order, an attorney ensures all paperwork is accurate and submitted correctly.  In the legal world, timelines matter.  Failure to know the timelines and adhere to them can result in disastrous consequences.
  • Emotional Support: Beyond legal assistance, an attorney provides emotional support, helping you navigate the challenges of a custody battle with confidence and resilience.

At Lighthouse Legal Services law offices, our child custody attorneys are dedicated to ensuring your child's well-being and your parental rights are at the forefront of every decision.

Secure Your Child’s Well-Being with Expert Legal Representation

Child custody matters can be daunting, but you don't have to navigate them alone. With Lighthouse Legal Services by your side, you're equipped with the expertise and compassion needed to ensure the best outcome for the custody of your child during divorce, SAPCR, or modification proceedings.
Let the experts at Lighthouse Legal Services advocate for your child’s best interests and your parental rights.
Contact us to schedule your first consultation.
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