Frequently Asked Questions about Houston Child Custody Law

Sample questions often posed to a Houston child custody lawyer

Having been a Houston child custody lawyer for many years, I noticed that many clients ask the same basic questions. I have included answers to these questions below. However, if you need assistance or answers to questions more specific to your case, please feel free to contact me.

Photo of File ArchiveWhat are the different types of child custody?
What factors do the courts, in general, take into account when deciding child custody?
What are the legal rules governing the custody of children born out of unmarried parents?
Can my drinking/smoking/drug abuse be a factor in determining child custody?
Are child custody arrangements permanent?

What are the different types of child custody?
Please see our page on Types of Houston Child Custody Arrangements for more details. Generally speak, there are 4 types: physical refers to the child living with that parent, legal custody refers to the parent making the decisions about the child’s upbringing, sole custody refers to one parent’s custody of the child, and joint custody refers to both parents sharing in the upbringing decisions and/or that the child lives with both parents.

What factors do the courts, in general, take into account when deciding child custody?
Above all else, the Courts want what is in the best interest of the child. This often means looking closely at both parents to determine what would be best for the child. To see some of the common factors in determining custody, see our page on Determining Houston Child Custody.

What are the legal rules governing the custody of children born out of unmarried parents?
Custody of the children born to unmarried parents is usually given to the mother. An unwed father does take priority over other relatives. Unlike divorcing couples, unmarried parents will not need to resolve any potentially complicated divorce-related issues such as division of property and payment of spousal support, so the decision-making process is focused almost exclusively on child custody, which is why resolution of custody and visitation may be more simplified for unmarried parents.

Can my drinking/smoking/drug abuse be a factor in determining child custody?
Absolutely. Whether you freely admit to these addictions or not, the Court can compel you to take drug and alcohol tests. These results may be a factor in determining what is in the best interests of the child. While these addictions alone may not make the final decision in your case, they can absolutely influence it. It may help to be proactive and show that you have stopped these addictions completely.

Are child custody arrangements permanent?
Not necessarily. If your circumstances change (or your ex-spouse’s do), a parent can ask to revise the agreement. Perhaps one parent was unemployed at the time and now has a job or maybe the parent completed rehab. Or maybe one parent wants to move to a different state. All of these factors can effect a custody arrangement. Only a Court can determine if the custody arrangement is permanent.

If you would like more information about how custody arrangements apply to your particular situation, please call a Houston child custody lawyer at our law firm today for a consultation.

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