Fighting for Child Custody

Personal Injury Lawyer

Fighting for custody of your child can be stressful, especially if you are worried that the other parent will try to get sole physical and legal custody. Parents who want help preparing for mediation or a court hearing regarding child custody, can visit with an attorney in their area for more information.

How is child custody determined?

The court decides which parent gets physical and legal custody of the child. One parent may have sole custody, or the court may award them to share custody evenly. The court will want what is best for the child, and is likely to enforce an arrangement in which the child can still maintain a relationship with each parent. 

What does physical custody entail?

Physical custody is where the child shall live, so either the child will live with one parent or have time split between two homes. In most cases, if one parent gets sole physical custody, then the other gets visitation rights. Legal custody is when the parent has a right to make decisions that affect the child’s wellbeing, such as medical care, education, and religion. Unless there is concern about abuse or neglect, the courts usually award joint legal custody to both parents so they can each continue to have a say in the child’s upbringing. 

What does best interest of the child mean?

Ultimately, the court will determine a child custody arrangement that they believe will benefit the child the most. The court may consider factors like the parent’s mental and physical health, ability to care for basic needs, work, and lifestyle. The court also focuses on the educational, social, and emotional needs of the child. 

What can I do to increase my chances of getting custody?

Many parents who are seeking custody of their children, turn to an attorney for advice and representation during court hearings. Since the child’s best interest is the primary influence of custody determinations, showing how you are able to provide a caring, stable, and supportive home is crucial. Any history of mistreatment, or drug/alcohol abuse, can greatly hinder a parent’s chances at receiving custody. 

Can I move out of state if I have custody?

If you were awarded sole physical and legal custody, then you may be permitted to move out of state. However, each state has laws that pertain to what parents can and cannot do when relocating. Depending on the judgement during your divorce, you may be forbidden from leaving a specific geographical area. Parents who want to move, or prevent the other parent from moving out of state, may want to talk with a child custody lawyer in Austin, TX about what to do next.

What about visitation?

Visitation is often a component of a parenting plan. Parents can create a visitation schedule together through mediation, but they may still have to submit it to the court for final approval. In situations where the parents aren’t able to collaborate together, the court may establish the visitation schedule for them instead. Parents who were not awarded custody, are commonly ordered a reasonable amount of visitation. 



Thanks to Gray & Becker, P.C. for their insight into family law and fighting for child custody.