San Antonio Child Custody Attorneys
Legal guidance with visitation and parenting plans in San Antonio
Divorcing parents are often most concerned about their children’s well-being and protecting the precious time that they have with them. In Texas, child custody is commonly referred to as “conservatorship.” The idea of conservatorship encompasses who houses and cares for a child (possessory conservatorship) and who makes legal decisions for them (managing conservatorship). A parent can receive one, neither or both of these responsibilities.
Don’t worry if this sounds complicated. At Grable Grimshaw PLLC, our family law attorneys can explain your options, protect your parental rights, and work for the best interests of your children. We understand how stressful this process is and will do everything we can to secure the best plan for you and your family. Get in touch with our San Antonio lawyers today to talk about your case.
What Our Clients Are Saying
"I hired Matt Grimshaw for a child custody case and he is a man of his word. He genuinely cares about his clients. He is responsive, professional, and well thought-out. I honestly wish I would have met him earlier in my custody fight. I would have saved a lot of hurt and money. I'll say it again; he is a man of his word." – Arthur M.
What are the types of child custody arrangements?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when determining a custody arrangement. Depending on your family’s unique circumstances, parents may share child-raising responsibilities, or one parent will take sole responsibility. Typically, Texas favors joint custody arrangements where both parents are involved in their children’s lives.
- Joint conservatorship (joint custody): Parents share decisions about a child’s education, medical care, religious upbringing, and other life issues. Typically, one parent will be the primary custodial parent while the other has visitation rights.
- Sole conservatorship (sole custody): When there are compelling reasons to do so, the child may fully live with one parent. That parent can hold all legal decision-making authority on their child’s behalf.
In some cases, a parent may be awarded physical custody or visitation rights of the child, but not legal custody. They could also be granted legal custody, but not physical custody rights. We will make sure that you understand your options, and we will fight for the best outcome possible.
How do I determine a child custody plan?
You and your ex-spouse can create your own custody and visitation plan as long as the court agrees that it is in your child’s best interests. However, if parents cannot agree, a standard possession order (SPO) may likely apply. This is a set schedule established by the state of Texas for when a child should stay with each parent. Grable Grimshaw PLLC can prepare you to enter negotiations, mediation or litigation that will result in a child custody arrangement that benefits your child.
How do the Texas courts decide child custody?
When making decisions regarding child custody, courts put the best interests of the child as their highest priority, noted in Texas Family Code Section 153.002. Although the definition of the “best interests of the child” isn’t specifically spelled out, family court historically takes into account the following:
- Age and health of the children
- Age and health of the parents
- Stability of the child’s home environment
- Parent’s ability to care for the child
- Child’s relationship with siblings and other family members
- Whether the child has special needs
- Parent’s level of involvement in child’s life
- Preference of the child (if old enough)
The attorneys at Grable Grimshaw work to show that you have the best interests of your child as your first priority. It’s also worth noting that Texas courts cannot discriminate against unmarried parents, against one gender over another, or against mothers over fathers.
Can I modify a San Antonio child custody order?
Families, and their plans, change over time. If your situation changes after the final divorce decree, your original arrangement may no longer work for you and your family. Our team can help you petition the court for a modification to your original order. This modification must be approved by the court. You should alter your divorce order without official approval. Check out our blog on the risks of informal divorce changes in Texas.
Can I move away if I have primary custody? Can my ex-spouse?
When a parent with custody of a child from a previous relationship wants to move, it’s called “parental relocation.” Depending on your personal child custody agreement, you may have geographic restrictions about how far a parent may move away. Restrictions may be limited to specific counties or school districts. If you don’t have these types of arrangements, including travel back and forth, you and your co-parent should strongly consider them.
If a parent wants to move, the two can handle it by mutual agreement or the courts can make the decision for them. Remember, however, even when parents agree upon all aspects of the relocation, they should consult with an attorney about the details and enforceability of the agreement. Further, formally modifying your current child custody plan makes it legally sound in the eyes of the court.
When parents are unable to come to agreement about relocation, they can go in front of a judge. Typically this is when one parent believes the move is not in the child’s best interests or wants to contest the relocation. If the court finds that a relocation is not in the best interests of the child, they may deny the move or re-assign primary custody. Our San Antonio attorneys can advocate for you and your family in court.
How do I get an emergency child custody order?
In cases where you believe your child is in imminent physical danger while in the care of their other parent, you may file for an emergency custody order. In Texas, you first acquire a Temporary Restraining Order, or TRO. A TRO lasts for 14 days, or until a hearing, whichever is sooner. A TRO can include instructions for a parent to stay away from the child. If you need an emergency custody order, talk to our San Antonio attorneys immediately. You will need to provide a statement detailing why your child needs protection.
Can I withhold visitation if my ex-spouse refuses to pay child support?
No. Although it may be tempting, don’t do this. The court views child support and child custody separately, which means that one is not affected by the other. Withholding visitation rights can result in the other parent filing an order of enforcement, which may require going to court and potential fines or penalties. If your co-parent is not paying child support, talk to one of the attorneys at Grable Grimshaw for guidance. We can also help if a parent is withholding visitation.
Contact our San Antonio child custody attorneys today
Child custody can be a complicated and stressful part of your divorce. Let the lawyers at Grable Grimshaw PLLC help make it easier. Our experienced San Antonio attorneys have a thorough understanding of family law and act in the best interests of your child and your family. Schedule a consultation with us today for knowledgeable guidance. Call 210-963-5297 or fill out our contact form to talk to a member of our team. We also serve clients throughout South Texas.