Going through a divorce is definitely a challenging task, but the big challenge is often the battle over the custody of children. In most cases, both parents are named joint managing conservators of the child or children. The battle, however, is usually over the designation of which conservator will have the exclusive right to determine where the child will live. Although divorce is a frequent setting for these types of battles, they happen in all types of scenarios. When a child is born to unmarried parents, there often can be custody battles and they often have a tie to a petition filed for child support or when one of the parents begins another relationship. A custody dispute can also arise when the child has been left in the care, custody, and control of a third party = such as a grandparent – and that individual files a lawsuit seeking to be named the conservator of that child or children.
When both the parents (or relatives) are unable to make an amicable decision regarding the best interests of their child or children custody, they usually end up in court. Before filing a child custody case it is important to understand how the legal system actually works. So, let’s find out a few best tips that can make you win a child custody case with the experienced attorney and mediator Lynette Boggs-Perez.
Child Custody Evaluations
In most cases in which there is a dispute as to which parent should be named the primary conservator of the child, the judge will likely order a Child Custody Study. This study is conducted by a licensed social worker or child psychologist who will ultimately prepare a report for the court. Hence, your lifestyle and home environment are something that will factor into the final decision by the judge. If you’ve been an absentee parent and all of a sudden you start showing up to avoid paying child support is something that will be obvious to the child custody evaluate. If you have other relatives living in your home, know that they too will be a part of this evaluation and the court will want to know if these other individuals have criminal and/or child protection backgrounds. The cost of a child custody evaluation can run between $1500 to $2500 and are typically ordered to be split between the two parties involved in the custody dispute.
Older children can share their wishes with the judge
In Texas, children who are at least 12 years of age can have a say in where they live, but a judge does not have to follow the child’s wishes. It is improper to assume or to tell a child they get to decide where they will live once they turn 12. Once your child turns 18 and is a legal adult, then a custody order does not apply, and they can decide where to live.
The judge can’t interview the child in chambers in a jury trial on the issue of which parent should decide where the child primarily lives. In a non-jury trial, it is up to the judge to decide whether or not to permit the attorneys to be present at the interview. If either party requests, the judge must have a court reporter in the judge’s office to record the interview with the child. The parents are not allowed in the judge’s office during the interview.
Consult A Child Psychologist
If your child has been seeing a psychologist for any reason, that professional should give testimony in the custody merits a hearing. Ultimately the judge will make a decision not based on what is in your best interests as a parent, but what is in the best interests of the child. A child psychologist can give an accurate and honest assessment of the child and his or her needs.
Consult an Experienced Attorney
At the time of custody disputes, both parents should choose a child custody lawyer for help. No matter if the custody disagreement is part of an existing divorce process or between parents who never married. Not every attorney experienced in family law and child custody matters. Therefore, it is necessary to find a lawyer like Lynette Boggs-Perez who specializes in child custody and family law matters in order to make sure that you are being properly represented.
So, these are the few tips that will help you in your child custody case. You have to consider every detail during the process. Therefore, do your homework properly before you file a child custody case. It will increase your chances of having a favorable outcome.