Cases that involve child custody issues can be among the most difficult (and personal) legal matters today. Whether you are currently pursuing, or plan to, a child custody claim in Lakeway, your case will be controlled by the Travis County Local Rules, the state’s Third Court of Appeals, the Texas Supreme Court, and mishmash of other authorities that can be all but impossible to decipher without the help of an experienced lawyer guiding the way. Please continue reading for an overview of how child custody cases are handled by the courts serving Lakeway, and other useful considerations when pursuing a case in Travis County courts.
Courts will always hold the best interest of the child as the primary factor of consideration when determine a child custody matter. The goal of such determinations is to place the child in the most favorable environment.
Pursuant to the seminal Texas Supreme Court case Holley v. Adams, Lakeway courts consider nine factors for determinations of a child’s best interest. The factors are:
These factors will play an outsized role on the resolution of any child custody suit in Lakeway. Consequently, your lawyer will focus on these factors when crafting your legal position and mitigating any potential issues.
A child’s sole managing conservator typically has the exclusive right to determine the child’s primary residence, the right to consent to various medical and psychological treatments, the right to receive periodic child support payments, the right to make decisions about the child’s education, and more. Of the various type of conservatorship, this type provides the greatest amount of decision-making authority.
Joint managing conservators share the rights and responsibilities of raising the child with another person (who is also a joint managing conservator). The courts serving Lakeway grant this type of conservatorship most often as it is generally presumed to be in the best interest of the child. But even if both parents are joint managing conservators, their decision-making authorities may differ. For example, one conservator may be charged with designating the child’s principal residence, or the parties may agree that the child’s primary residence will stay within a specified geographic area. The possession times for each parent can also vary. This is often done to avoid disturbances to child’s daily routine, such as school and extracurricular activities. Courts may also grant one joint managing conservator a larger possession period if it finds that the family structure warrants such an imbalance, especially if the court determines that structure to be in the child’s best interest.
The final conservatorship is the possessory conservator. Possessory conservators are individuals who are not necessarily one of the child’s parents but may have the right to possess the child during certain times and/or under specific conditions. Possessory conservators have the same parental rights any other conservatorship would allow during their possession period.
The courts serving Lakeway routinely encourage joint managing conservators to form agreed parenting plans. For the courts to accept such a plan, however, it must meet the following requirements:
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