Let Us Help You Protect Your Family
If you are a parent going through a child custody matter, you are aware of how emotionally challenging and stressful it can be. You may be extremely worried about your child’s safety and future or you may be worried you are losing valuable time with your children. Child Custody Attorney Kris Balekian Hayes been through the process herself and now help others navigate the often difficult and overwhelming process. At Balekian Hayes, PLLC, we have not forgotten that the most important thing we do is protect your family. We care about our clients, and we aggressively represent their wishes. We are a Dallas family law firm you can actually trust!
Your Children Are Our First Priority
As parents, that is what we will always put first in our lives. When you come in for your consultation, you will find that we listen closely to the details of the situation and will discuss what is in your child’s best interest. We will stay focused on what it is that you would like to accomplish and advise you based on the circumstances. We will help you through this chapter of your life and will work to make this process as smooth as it can be.
Child Custody Law In Texas
A >child custody order, which can be in a Final Decree of Divorce or a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship, can dictate when you spend time with your children (defined as possession and access). Since custody arrangements cannot generally be modified without showing a significant and material change in circumstances, it is imperative to get the arrangements right the first time.
The Dallas custody lawyers at Balekian Hayes, PLLC can help you work out a suitable visitation schedule, modify an existing schedule, and enforce what is in the best interest of your child. Our family lawyers have all the necessary knowledge and experience to argue your case in court, or help you settle a matter with your spouse through mediation.
The most common issues pertaining to child visitation include:
- Disagreement over a visitation schedule that is in the best interest of the child
- Prohibition of visitation by a custodial parent
- Violation of visitation by a noncustodial parent
Possession of your child means you can see the child in person and have the child in your care. Access means that you can interact with your child by some means.
In the state of Texas, it is presumed to be in the best interest of the child that the parents are named joint managing conservators. This does not dictate how much time you spend with the child but what are your rights and responsibilities as it pertains to your children. Usually, but not always, one parent has the right to designate the primary residence of the children, oftentimes referred to as the “primary parent.”
Your Rights And Duties As A Parent
Your parenting agreement should give you answers to critical questions and ensure your rights as a parent to contribute to your child’s health and participate in their medical decisions, your rights to teach your child about your faith and religion and your right to partake in your child’s education. It will also establish each parent’s duties with the child’s care, financial support, housing and more.
While in today’s day, courts are more often supporting a 50/50 possession schedule, the Texas Family Code presumes it is in the best interest of the children to have a primary parent and the nonprimary parent has a standard possession order (SPO). The standard possession order states as follows:
- Friday at 6:00 p.m. – Sunday at 6:00 p.m. (or your order may state from after school Friday until the child returns to school the following Monday)
- Thursdays 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. during school year or when the child’s school is regularly dismissed (elected by nonprimary parent)
- Designated Summer and Holidays schedules
- Weekends beginning on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Fridays of each month
Excluding cases where there is a concern for the child’s safety, the courts believe that it is in the best interest of a child that the parents be designated as joint managing conservators of their child. In short this means that the parents have equal rights and responsibilities to their child and they made decision for their child by agreement or independently of one another. In a typical joint managing conservatorship relationship, one parent will be designated as the parent who may designate the primary residence of the child, or the custodial parent. The other parent, known as the noncustodial parent, will be granted possession and access (visitation) with the child.
As times change and parents are becoming more equally involved in their child’s lives, so do the court view on child custody. The goal of the court is to keep the child’s life as similar as possible to what it looked like prior to the divorce. As a result, more and more courts are moving towards equal parenting possession times.
Unless limited by a court, the rights and duties of a parent at all times are as follows:
To receive information from any other conservator of the child concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child
To confer with the other parent to the extent possible before making a decision concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child
Access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child
To consult with a physician, dentist, or psychologist of the child
Consult with school officials concerning the child’s welfare and educational status, including school activities
Attend school activities, including school lunches, performances, and field trips
Be designated on the child’s records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency
Consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child; and
Manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by the parent or the parent’s family.
Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as managing conservator of a child has the following rights and duties
The Right To:
- Designate the primary residence of the child
- Consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures
- Consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment
- Receive and give receipt for periodic payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse these funds for the benefit of the child
- Represent the child in legal action and make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child
- Consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States
- Make decisions concerning the child’s education
- The services and earnings of the child
- Except when a guardian of the child’s estate or a guardian or attorney ad litem has been appointed for the child, the right to act as an agent of the child in relation to the child’s estate if the child’s action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government
- Apply for a passport for the child;
- Renew the child’s passport; and
- Maintain possession of the child’s passport.
The courts will order these rights to occur either upon the agreement of both parties, exclusively held by one parent or independently by both parties.
Call Us At 214-828-2800 To Schedule A Consultation With a Child Custody Attorney
Balekian Hayes, PLLC, is committed to assisting you in receiving the MOST time with your children. Contact our Dallas office today to schedule a consultation. Call 214-828-2800.