One most contentious and also emotionally charged phase of most cases of divorce is the determination of the child’s custody proceedings. Typically, most parents like to have complete custody of their children, but the courts feel that shared parenting will meet the best interest, as far as the child’s interest is concerned.
Often courts in Dallas try to divide the custody between both spouses evenly. However, if the court decides that one of the parents is more fit as compared to the other, then it will be in the benefit of the children to stay at that parent’s house.
So, if you are fighting your child custody battle, then there are quite a few things that you can do to make your case stronger, and also many things to sabotage it. The process of child custody in Dallas can often be very confusing for both children as well as for parents.
If you think that your case has become too complicated and you cannot figure out what action you should take then you can consult and take the help of child custody lawyers in Dallas available at ONDA Law Firm, who can offer you help by skillfully addressing all your concerns in the following areas:
- Best Interest of your child
- Child custody
- Collateral witnesses
- Contested custody
- Joint custody
- Mental health testimony
- Primary custody
- Sole custody
The following are the 3 steps involved in filing for any child custody in Dallas:
1. Take the help of an experienced attorney
Many people often pursue their custody without hiring a lawyer, which can often put you in a disadvantageous position. Often custody cases may turn into a bitter battle. Often you may underestimate your ex-spouse and even a simple case can also become complicated.
An experienced attorney can prepare your case properly after following the entire legal steps. If your children’s well-being is very important for you then a lawyer on your side is a must.
2. Fill out forms and prepare documents
There are certain protocols while filing your case for child custody that your lawyer can do on your behalf. When you have filed your case by paying the required fees, then the other parent also must be officially informed that you have filed a petition. Based on that, the other parent can file an answer, denial, or counterpetition with the court.
3. Begin collecting evidence
Immediately after that, you should start collecting various pieces of evidence related to your case. Usually, the judge will then make a decision based on what will be the best benefit for children.
Your lawyer may ask you to provide evidence and documentation like:
- Medical records;
- Financial and employment records
- Any related police reports.
You may also consider using certain expert witnesses for supporting your case, like any social worker or any child psychologist. The quality of evidence will make your case stronger.
The basic purpose of filing a case for child custody
According to the court, the purpose of such a case for child custody is to evaluate what will be the best option for the child. Therefore, the court will not favor either of the parents. Courts will like to consider a few factors like:
- Any history violence
- Drug use.
- Love and emotional connection with the parents
- Maintaining a certain sense of stability and familiarity
- Not disrupting the life of the child
- Physical safety
- The community/cultural background of the child
There are four different types of child custody that are generally provided to the child when their parents are separated.
- Legal custody:
- Physical custody:
- Joint custody
- Sole custody
Child custody process
Every child custody case will begin with a filing of a petition that is a request to any court to decide on the custody rights of the parents. There can be 5 reasons why a Dallas court will be allowed to hear the child custody case and they are:
- The child’s home state is Texas
- Texas has been the child’s original home state during the last 6 months
- Any of the parents are still living in Texas
- Any different state court cannot take the case provided:
- The child or any parent has a connection with Texas, besides just being a resident of Texas
- Enough evidence is present in Texas regarding the child’s care, training, protection, and personal relationships
- All courts of the other states can hear the case, but have decided that they will not hear this case as they feel that hearing it in Texas will be more appropriate
If any of the parents files a case in Dallas, with a petition for the family’s legal division of any local court then the next parent will get a chance to contest the case by offering his or her answer.
The answer will offer the other parent a chance to get involved in the same case. In case, a parent fails to respond against the initial complaint, then that parent can lose any right to take part in the determination of child custody.
Before the final hearing, the court will hold several hearings or trials. Also, sometimes the court may also issue an order for temporary custody that will specify which parent may take the proper care of that child while the case of child support is in process.
Also, in one of the trials, the court will appoint a temporary guardian of the child. Since the Guardian will be a court officer, who does not favor any one parent and is assigned for ensuring that the last and final decision will be on the best side of the child.
Child custody modifications
Dallas court can also make a certain modification to the orders for child custody, as well. To make any modification, the court must be able to find that certain material or substantial changes have taken place in the circumstance.
Suppose the child is at present living with a certain parent and he turns 12 years old. Now the child has also the right to choose with which parent he would like to live. Courts will then consider the child’s option and give the necessary order.