How to Get Custody of a Child in Texas

How to Get Custody of a Child in Texas

If you need to know how to get custody of a child in Texas, you are likely in a tough situation already. Raising children is never simple, and a divorce can make the process even more overwhelming. When you want to learn how to win full custody as a father or mother, you need to work with a family attorney

Your attorney is there to help you understand the process and prepare your case to protect the best interests of you and your child. However, it’s important to understand that the Texas Family Code does not use the term “full custody.” 

Instead, the code refers to the person the child lives with during the school week as the “primary” parent. In some cases, people use “full custody” to mean that the other parent relinquished or terminated their parental rights. Alternatively, others refer to a situation of sole managing conservatorship with supervised custody for the other parent. 

Below, we use “full custody” in the sense of “sole managing conservatorship.” If you already feel confused, that’s okay. Our attorneys are ready to help guide you through the process. 

The Basic Rights of Parents in Texas

Before we explore how to get custody of a child in Texas, it’s important to understand the general rights every parent has in the state. Per Texas law, parents have the right to “physical possession” of their children. 

Moreover, each parent typically has the right to participate in certain decisions in their children’s lives. Here are a few examples. 

  • Legal matters
  • Health issues 
  • Educational matters
  • Religious upbringing
  • Moral guidance 
  • Relationship matters
  • Residential decisions 

Additionally, each parent has a scope of duties in terms of how they care for and support their children. 

If parents separate, Texas law seeks an opportunity for parents to share these rights and responsibilities. When this doesn’t seem plausible or beneficial for your situation, there are ways to attain sole custody of a child in Texas. 

How to Get Full Custody in Texas

If you want to know how to get custody of a child in Texas, there are two kinds of custody to consider. 

  • Physical custody – “possessory conservatorship”
  • Legal custody – “managing conservatorship”

When you have sole physical custody, it means your kid lives with you full time. If you have “sole legal custody,” you have specific exclusive rights, which can include the following. 

  • Deciding the child’s residence
  • Consenting to healthcare for the child
  • Holding or spending child support payments
  • Handling legal matters for the child 
  • Making decisions about your kid’s education
  • Consenting to marriage 
  • Applying for and maintaining travel documents
  • Consenting to military service 
  • Utilizing the child’s earnings

In Texas, it’s possible to fight for one or both types of custody. Once you know the type of custody you want, you and your attorney can determine the best way to file for it. 

Filing for Full Custody in Texas

In Texas, there are two ways to achieve full custody in family court. 

  • One parent files for sole custody. 
  • The parent files to terminate the other’s parental rights. 

Additionally, it’s possible to begin the petition in the court where your child is a resident or the court that presides over the divorce. Then, you serve the other parent (or person with custodial rights) the citation. 

How to Fight for Full Custody in Texas

When you petition to terminate the other parent’s rights, you have to meet a different burden of proof than in a case for sole custody. 

Sole Custody

In order to win sole custody, you have to prove that staying with you is in the best interest of the child. As the court decides what is in the best interests of a child, they look at a range of factors. 

  • The specific needs of the child 
  • A history of abusive behavior from either parent 
  • Any pattern of neglect by either parent 
  • A history of violence within or outside the family by either parent

Knowing how to get custody of a child in Texas means putting together records and statements that highlight your child’s needs and how the other parent fails to meet them.

Termination of Parental Rights

Terminating parental rights is a drastic but sometimes necessary measure. When you believe that it is necessary, it is important to work closely with your attorney. No one comes to this decision lightly, and courts take them quite seriously. 

This is especially true in Texas. In order to terminate the rights of a parent, you have to provide proof of the following. 

  • Neglect of the child 
  • Abandonment of the child
  • Child endangerment 
  • Engagement in substance abuse
  • Guilt of certain crimes 
  • Caused severe injury or death to a child 
  • Had parental rights terminated with another child due to endangerment

To prove any of these requires gathering a broad range of documents, from court documents and police reports to protection orders and medical reports, in addition to convincing evidence that ties everything together. 

Unfortunately, this is not always an easy standard to meet. That’s why it is essential to partner with an experienced family law attorney. 

Learn How to Get Custody of a Child in Texas with Skilled Attorneys

At Universal Law Group, we understand how to get custody of a child in Texas. Moreover, we know that this fight is difficult, overwhelming, and emotional. Our attorneys are ready to help parents throughout the Greater Houston Area understand their rights and pursue their best interests. 

If you are ready to learn more about your custody case, our advocates are ready to pursue the best possible results for your case. With personalized service, we focus on the unique needs of you and your child in order to protect your family. 

Schedule a consultation with our legal team today to learn more.