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Texas Child Custody
Parents who split up must address several key issues related to their minor children. Those include child custody, visitation and child support. If Texas parents cannot reach a mutually agreeable custody decision, then a judge will make a decision based on the best interests of the child. Parents should each retain a child custody attorney to help them negotiate these agreements and/or to represent them in court.
Basics of Child Custody Law
Under Texas law, child custody is also known as conservatorship.
When making conservatorship decisions, the Texas Family Law Court will consider:
- The wishes of the child if he or she is at least 12 years old
- The child's relationship with each parent
- The child's health, safety, and welfare
- The state of each parent's mental and physical health
- Whether there is any parental history of child abuse
Both parents are bound by the court's conservatorship order once it has been signed by the judge and filed with the court clerk.
If a child is born to unmarried parents, then parents must first establish legal parentage of the child before a court will rule on custody, visitation and child support. There are several ways to establish parentage, also known as paternity, in Texas:
- Unwed parents can sign an acknowledgment of paternity form
- The child's mother can marry the child's biological father
- The court can issue an order ruling on parentage
Once paternity has been established, a parent can submit an Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage that includes the father's name.
Child support is calculated based on the paying parent's net income and other financial resources. Assuming the paying parent is not supporting other children, support in Texas is usually calculated as follows:
- One child: 20% of net resources
- Two children: 25% of net resources
- Three children: 30% of net resources
- Four children: 35% of net resources
- Five to seven children: 40% of net resources
Find & Hire Local Texas Child Custody Attorneys
Because child custody, visitation and child support decisions can have a life-long impact on both parents and children, each parent should be represented by his or her own child custody lawyer or family law attorney. And if you need help locating child custody lawyers in your area, you've come to the right website. Attorneys.com offers a free service that can quickly connect you with family law lawyers in Dallas, Houston and elsewhere in Texas. To use our service, complete the form on this page or call us at 877-913-7222.