Child custody is often the most contentious agreement to reach during a divorce. In addition to calculating child support payments, determining the custody of each child from the marriage can be a long process that will involve looking at several factors. It’s best to work with Houston’s top child custody lawyer to reach a favorable outcome.
Why Do You Still Need a Child Custody Lawyer for a Private Custody Agreement?
A private custody agreement is determined through mediation rather than by a judge but is still legally binding. While mediation can certainly reduce the drama and tension of a child custody battle in court, it’s still important to work with a lawyer to look out for the best interests of the child or children.
Furthermore, working closely with a lawyer to hammer out your private child custody agreement will ensure that the agreement meets legal standards. Specifically, a lawyer can help ensure biological parents who are not a danger to the child will still have access to the child through regulated visitation. Learn more about other ways your lawyer can help you with child custody arrangements, such as by petitioning the court to enforce child visitation orders.
Modifying Child Custody Orders
You may also need the help of an expert lawyer if you need to modify your child custody agreement at any point. A modification case is a formal legal document that is filed with the court when one or both parents want to modify the child custody agreement. Parents may choose to modify the agreement for reasons such as changes in financial stability or danger to the child.
Requesting a modification of the child custody arrangement can be contested or uncontested. An uncontested modification order happens when both parents agree to the updates made to the child custody arrangement, which can be finalized when both parents sign the modification form or by default if one parent fails to sign the form after a certain period.
Why Is It Important to Have a Child Custody Agreement?
It’s important to have a child custody agreement that is filed with the family court for several reasons. While you and the other parent of your child may agree to private arrangements, it’s best to formalize these arrangements so that the child custody agreement can be legally enforced. This protects the child in the event of child endangerment under the care of one parent and gives both parents the ability to modify the agreement.
Ask Houston’s Top Child Custody Lawyer: How Is Primary Custody Determined?
A judge presiding over your child custody case will typically analyze several factors to determine which parent represents the best interests of the child. Even if you decide to mediate child custody instead of allowing a judge to decide, these factors are still used to verify that the parent with primary custody will provide the most stability to the child. The main factors considered will include:
The stability of both parents is essential since this will determine how well parents can provide a safe and stable environment for the child. Parent stability will examine elements such as job history, income, and other historical evidence about the stability of each parent.
Parent involvement is particularly important in Texas family courts. Houston’s top child custody lawyer will strive to highlight your parental involvement in the daily needs of the child. A judge will usually give parents who are involved in taking the child to the doctor, helping the child with homework, and participating in the child’s interest a more favorable outcome.
Family proximity may also be another factor considered. For example, a parent who is highly involved in the child’s life and who has the support of a close-knit family is far more likely to be awarded primary custodianship of the child. Family proximity and closeness are additional support for the child, particularly if the primary custodian is moving to another city, state, or country.
The safety of the child is also crucial. A parent who has a historical record of domestic violence, criminal charges, and substance abuse is unlikely to be awarded primary custody of a child.
Child’s Emotional and Physical Needs
Many judges will also consider the emotional and physical needs of the child. In particular, a judge will favor a parent who can adapt to the needs of the child, especially children who have special needs.
In Texas, the child’s preference may also be an influential factor if the child is over 12 years old. Although a child cannot pick which parent they want to live with, if both parents have fairly equal ability to provide for the child, then the child’s preference may be the final determining factor for which parent is awarded primary custody.
A private custody agreement is a good sign that both parents want to work together to give their child stability. However, all child custody agreements must be formally filed with the family court so the agreement is legally enforceable.