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Child Custody

Lawyer Protecting Parental Rights in Dallas and North Texas

Child custody, known under Texas law as conservatorship, is often the most contentious issue in couples going through a divorce. The general rule is that child custody orders will be made to fit the best interests of the child. This means parents interested in maintaining custody must prove that granting such would be the most beneficial to the child. The Dallas child custody lawyers at Clark Law Group have years of experience helping parents fight for their parental rights. Our team also helps with child support. If you have any questions, contact our firm.

Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody

In Texas, child custody is defined two ways: legal custody and physical custody. When a parent is granted legal custody, he or she is granted the right to make decisions regarding the child’s health care, education, religion, and any other major decisions that could affect the child’s well-being now or later in life.

The parent with physical custody has the right to make decisions regarding the child’s everyday needs, such as what they eat, what they wear, and what time they go to bed. When one parent is awarded sole custody of a child, that means that he or she has both legal and physical custody and that the child has one primary residence. The other parent gets only visitation rights.

Complications with Child Custody in Texas

Because families can include more members than just the children and parents, custody issues can arise in a number of different places. Extended family members, for example, may feel they deserve custody because they feel the birth parents are negligent. It is important to have a Dallas child custody attorney on your side that can help you protect your interests in these matters.

Other parties could petition for custody due to:

  • Modification of court orders such as child support orders, visitation orders, and custody orders
  • Termination of parental rights in cases involving sexual or physical abuse, drugs, criminal charges, lack of visitation, or failure to pay court-ordered child support.
  • Paternity testing proving different parental rights or support obligations
  • Step-parent adoptions

Relocation and Child Custody in Texas

When a parent wishes to move out of state, having a Dallas child custody lawyer who is familiar with Texas law is important. They can help navigate the complex laws involved in such a move.

They will need to take certain statutes into consideration such as:

  • Uniform Parentage Act (UPA)
  • Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)
  • Parental Kidnapping and Prevention Act (PKPA)
  • Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA)
  • Hague Convention on International Child Abduction

Whether you want to relocate with your child or want to stop your child’s other parent from moving, Clark Law Group can help.

Child Custody FAQs

How Can a Child Custody Lawyer Help Me?

There are a number of ways that a lawyer can help with your child custody case. It is easy to be taken advantage of if you are not as well-versed in the law as a child custody attorney is. A child custody lawyer understands what type of arguments may be persuasive to the court. Your lawyer will analyze each factor to be considered in your child custody case and prepare arguments in your favor.

What Questions Should I Ask My Lawyer About Child Custody?

You should ask any question you want an answer to. Our lawyers are here to help. You may want to ask about what types of child custody arrangements are possible. You can also ask whether a guardian ad litem may be helpful in your case. Asking about the factors used in child custody cases can help you gain a better understanding of what to expect in court. It is also a good idea to ask about any alternative dispute resolution methods, like mediation, that could help you settle your case more quickly.

How Can I Get Full Custody of My Child?

Arrangements where one parent has sole custody are somewhat rare, but they may be possible under certain circumstances. You will usually need to show that your child’s other parent is in some way a danger to your child. For example, if the other parent has a history of abuse committed against you, the child, or another family member; has an active drug addiction or psychotic disorder; or is a sex offender, your attorney may be able to help you gain full custody.

What Is 50/50 Child Custody?

50/50 child custody is an arrangement in which both parents have equal time with and decision-making rights over the child. These types of arrangements may be used when parents live near each other, ensuring that the child can move back and forth without disrupting their schooling or extracurricular activities.

Who Claims the Child on Taxes With 50/50 Custody?

Only one parent can claim a child as a dependent. Most of the time, the parent who the child lives with the majority of the time will claim that child on their taxes. However, “tiebreaker” rules may apply in cases involving 50/50 custody. The IRS has stated that in true 50/50 custody arrangements where the time children live with parents is exactly equal, the parent with the higher taxable income may claim the child on their taxes. However, parents may also agree on how they will claim a child, such as by having each parent claim the child in alternating years.

How Can I Get Custody of a Child?

The answer to this question depends on your current situation. Parents who are getting divorced will have child custody decided incident to their divorce case. Parents who were never married and are not together may file a child custody case asking the court to make their existing child custody arrangements official and enforceable. However, if an unmarried father has not been formally recognized as the child’s parent, the first step may be to establish legal paternity. Mediation or attorney-facilitated negotiation may help parents establish child custody arrangements without going through a court hearing. If agreements cannot be reached, parents may ask the court to decide how child custody will be divided.

Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With in Dallas?

While a child’s preferences may be considered, a child generally cannot make the final decision about which parent to live with. The child’s preferences will carry more weight if they are older or more mature. A court is more likely to respect the wishes of a teenager who is capable of better reasoning than the wishes of a small child, who may be easily manipulated by a parent.

Why Choose Clark Law Group?

With awards from the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys and Avvo, the team at Clark Law Group has the experience clients need to obtain the outcome that best meets their needs. Do not try to fight for your parental rights alone. Call our firm today and get started on protecting your family.

Get help with your child custody case in Dallas by dialing 469-906-2266 or by contacting us online. We serve clients throughout the greater Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

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