family law

Custodies / Modifications

In Texas, a lawsuit affecting the parent-child relationship establishes the legal relationship between parents and children and defines the duties, obligations, and responsibilities of each parent.

In a custody dispute, a parent should always consider what is best for the child, such as, custody, visits, child support and everything related to your health.

Custody or “guardianship” is the word used to describe the legal rights and responsibilities of each “guardian” (usually the child’s parents, but others may be appointed as the child’s guardian).

In a guardianship, there are two types of guardianships:

Exclusive general guardianship ; the guardian of custody will generally have the exclusive right to make decisions under the Family Code. These cases are more complex since the state of Texas always seeks to maintain a joint guardianship that is in accordance with the public policy of the state. The cases where an “exclusive general guardianship” can be granted are:

    • Intrafamily Violence.
    • Criminal behavior by either parent.
    • Criminal record by one of the parents.
    • Abuse of the minor by one of the parents.
    • Neglect of the child by one of the parents.
    • Absence in the child’s life by one of the parents.

Shared guardianship ; Both parties share decision making, with their exceptions.

There are several factors that can affect your chances of being named the primary guardian and many include parental involvement in the child’s life, how the parents tend to the child, the time and commitment of the parents routinely, and parent availability.

THE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF EACH PARENT

Parents or guardians, either exclusive or joint guardianship will be appointed as either the child’s primary guardian or secondary guardian.

A primary guardian is usually the guardian with the exclusive right to determine the residence of the children. While the secondary guardian is the one who is obliged to pay support, has an established visiting schedule for the minor, and may be obliged to provide health insurance for the child.

There are certain legal rights that parents have at all times and some that are exclusive, assigned independently, or jointly to each parent through a custody or divorce lawsuit.

The rights that the parents or guardians have in all times are found in the Texas Family Code 153.073.

Rights that are exclusively, independently or jointly assigned to each parent through a custody or divorce lawsuit (depending on the type of guardianship) include:

  • The right to determine the residence of the child.
  • The right to allow medical, dental and surgical treatment consisting of invasive procedures.
  • The right to consent to a child’s psychiatric and psychological treatment.
  • The right to represent the child in legal actions and make other important legal decisions regarding the child.
  • Right to consent to marriage and to enlist in the armed forces of the United States.
  • Right to make decisions related to the child’s education.
  • Except where a guardian of the minor’s estate or ad item guardian or attorney has been appointed for the child, the right to act as the child’s agent in connection with the child’s succession if the child’s action is required by the state, the United States, or a foreign government.

At its core, the difference between an exclusive primary guardianship and a joint guardianship is the ability to make decisions regarding the minor.

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