Child Custody Lawyers in Katy TX
Leading the Way to a Fair Child Custody Arrangement
If you are seeking to petition for child custody, Hunt Law Firm can provide you with the committed legal guidance you need. Whether you are a mother, father, grandparent, or close relative, our firm can help you protect the well-being of your child.
While custody cases can become complex and emotionally charged, we strive to make the entire process as straightforward as possible. We know how important your children are to you, which is why we are ready to do everything possible to help you maintain an active role in the life of your child or children. Options are always laid out in clear and concise terms, and the client always makes major decisions. Choose to work with a dedicated Katy child custody lawyer at the Hunt Law Firm today.
Don't jeopardize your parental rights. Contact us now. Hunt Law Firm is ready to stand at your side from beginning to end.
Establishing & Modifying Child Custody in Texas
In the state of Texas, it is important to note that the idea of custody is split into two categories:
- Possession and access
Conservatorship refers to the right to make decisions about the child's upbringing, including education, healthcare, and where the child will live primarily. Possession and access means the actual time a parent or guardian has with the child.
The court generally decides child custody matters by prioritizing the child's best interests. A court can grant sole physical and legal custody to one parent or joint custody to both parents after considering a number of factors related to the child's best interests.
Factors the court may take into consideration include:
- The desires of the child;
- The emotional and physical needs of the child now and in the future;
- The emotional and physical danger to the child now and in the future;
- The parental abilities of the individuals seeking custody;
- The stability of the home or other proposed placement;
- The acts or omissions of the parent that may indicate that the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one, etc.
Understanding Texas Child Visitation Rights
Child visitation rights go to the non-custodial parent, and it outlines the amount of time the parent is given to spend with his or her child. Visitation is typically handled as part of a larger family law matter such as a divorce, paternity, or child custody case. Below, we explain the difference between Standard Possession Orders (SPO) and Expanded Possession Orders (E-SPO), and how they play a role in a non-custodial parent’s visitation plan.
Standard Possession Order
The purpose of an SPO is to not only set a schedule for each parent’s time with the child, but to ensure that it is legally binding. This schedule is found in the parenting plan filed with and approved by the court, which is generally part of a couple’s divorce decree or child custody order. Once the court approves of the plan, it then becomes a parent’s possession and access order. SPOs should be designed in a way that encourages a close relationship with both parents.
A typical SPO for children ages 3 and older includes, but is not limited to:
- Every first, third, and fifth Friday from 6 p.m. to the following Sunday at 6 p.m.;
- Every Thursday evening during the school year from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.;
- Every other Spring Break;
- Every other Thanksgiving;
- Half of Christmas break, with parents alternating which half they get every other year;
- Thirty days in the summer.
Expanded Standard Possession Order
The non-custodial parent may choose to receive make the Standard Possession Order expanded. Under an E-SPO, holiday and summer visitation schedules remain the same, but weekly Thursday visits and first, third, and fifth weekend visits are extended. Instead of just two hours on Thursdays, the non-custodial parent is given possession rights to have the child from the time he or she is dismissed from school on Thursday to when he or she must return to school Friday.
Weekend visits are adjusted to allow visitation from the time the child is released from school on Friday to when he or she returns to school on Monday.
Steps in a Contested Child Custody Case
Child custody cases can be emotionally challenging and legally complex. Whether you're a parent seeking custody or involved in a custody dispute, understanding the steps involved in a child custody case in Texas is essential.
- Step One: File the Petition and the Temporary Restraining Order - If you are initiating new custody case because there are no other orders affecting the child, file a Petition in Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (or SAPCR) in the county the child has resided in for 6 months or more.. The petition should include the name of both parents, the child’s age and date of birth, and what you are asking for in the suit. You may also wish to have a Temporary Restraining Order with joint and mutual injunctions if the county does not have standing orders. If you are modifying an existing order, file a Petition to Modify into the cause number and court of the existing order. The court that signed the current order has continuing exclusive jurisdiction. You may however have grounds to transfer the case to another court.
- Step Two: Serve the Other Parent/Guardian - After filing the petition, you must formally serve the other parent with a copy of the petition and a citation. Proper service ensures that the other parent is aware of the legal proceedings and has an opportunity to respond. The other parent must file their answer the Monday after the expiration of 20 days from the time they are served.
- Step Three: Attend Mediation - In many Texas counties, mediation or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is mandatory before proceeding to court unless there is an emergency. Mediation provides an opportunity for both parents to negotiate and reach a mutually agreeable custody arrangement. A neutral mediator facilitates the discussion and helps find common ground. You may come to an agreement on a temporary order or the final order in mediation.
- Step Four: Temporary Orders Hearing - If mediation did not result in an agreement and you need to have some temporary orders for custody and/or child support, you will have to schedule a temporary orders hearing where you will have to present evidence and testimony to the court.
- Step Five: The Discovery Phase - The discovery phase in your case is when each party has the opportunity to request and receive from the opposing party all the relevant documents pertaining to the case. It is a good idea to start gathering all important documents such as the child's medical records, school records, and any evidence supporting your ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment. Keep records of communication and incidents related to the child's welfare. Also, keep communications with the other parent to show the co-parenting relationship. If you may be the obligor of child support, start organizing evidence of your income.
- Step Six: Final Trial - You may have to attend mediation once again before final trial but can waive this requirement if you have a good reason. If mediation has not worked out, you will have to have a final trial. Once the court has reviewed the evidence and heard both sides, it will issue a custody order. The order will specify conservatorship and possession and access along with any other relevant issues such as child support. Ensure you fully understand the terms of the order and comply with its provisions.
Custody Lawyers Providing One-on-One Attention
Although it is impossible to predict how a court will decide to rule in your divorce case or Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR), your chances of obtaining the positive case outcome you desire are enhanced when you seek legal trusted, knowledgeable help. Hunt Law Firm provides you with a results-driven strategy and one-on-one personal attention, from start to finish.
When couples divorce or separate, there are a number of decisions that must be made. Chief among them are the custody (a.k.a. conservatorship) and visitation plans for the children.
Parents have a right to have a committed, ongoing relationship with their children. Hunt Law Firm will listen to the facts of your case, work with you to acquire key evidence, and lay out options in clear and concise terms. Clients always make final decisions about the best path forward. Our attorneys guide clients to the best possible course of action and then do everything in our power, inside and outside the courtroom, to ensure our clients' rights are protected.
Clients choose Hunt Law Firm for many reasons, including the following:
- The firm's small size ensures it is responsive to clients; inquiries receive responses within 24 hours
- Our attorneys are trusted members of the legal community and focus our practice on family law, particularly child custody and divorce
- The firm provides insightful guidance that encourages clients to make informed decisions, especially in critical moments involving young children
- Attorney Alex Hunt has earned many awards for exceptional work on behalf of childrens' rights, including the Napoleon Beazley Defender Award and the Ann Dinsmore Forman Memorial Child Advocacy Award
- The firm provides compassionate and personalized legal counsel to families based on their unique circumstances, needs, goals, and dynamics
Call Hunt Law Firm at (832) 781-0320
Delivering ethical and committed legal representation, Hunt Law Firm is the kind of firm you need at your side as you seek child custody. Our small size allows our attorneys to give each matter the full attention it deserves. Our firm encourages prospective clients to schedule an initial consultation of their case in order to gain a better understanding of their legal options.
You can almost always expect a call back in 24 hours, with most being returned the same day.
You can always count on receiving personalized attention from our small, boutique firm.
You'll get an attorney who is compassionate, receptive, and responsive to your needs.
We utilize the latest technology to reduce costs, including access to an online client portal.
Mr. Hunt was responsive from the start, replying to my initial inquiry questions on a Sat/Sun. My case had urgency, and the staff got my case started right away. Brittany took time to explain the priority and timelines for information they needed from me.Tammy
Alex Hunt and his team are top notch. I have been using them for over 3 years and can't say enough about their professionalism and quality of work.Wyatt
I found a Law Firm that really cares! From the very first call to set an appointment to the signing of my prepared estate planning docs. I was treated was patience, respect and complete professionalism.Cherry
Melissa Masoom and her team are absolutely wonderful. I’ll be recommending this amazing firm to everyone in the future.Rifath
Right from the initial consultation meeting, to the final signing, the entire staff provided the needed support to accomplish our objectives.Kola
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