If you and your spouse have children together, then the chief issues that will need to be resolved in a divorce proceeding will revolve around them. Who gets custody of the kids, how much the other parent will get to visit, and who will pay child support often drive the major conflicts during the divorce negotiations. Once all of these discussions are over, however, other aspects of a divorce proceeding are easier to determine.
Out of these issues, child custody is the primary one, because other disputes like visitation rights and child support largely depend on how custody gets resolved.
In Texas, the person who gets custody of the child is called a conservator. If the court awards custody to one person, then that person is the sole conservator. If multiple people are given custody, then those people are called joint conservators. Conservators are responsible for making major decisions about the child's welfare (such as those relating to education and medical care), much like a traditional parent would. Generally, the child's conservator will be one or both of his or her parents, though there are circumstances where someone else would be appointed by the court to be the child's conservator.
Who gets to be a child's conservator, however, is determined by creating and developing a parenting plan.
Parenting plans are a significant piece of the divorce process. They include everything related to how the divorce will affect the children you've had with your partner, such as child support, your rights and duties as a parent, and child custody. In particular, parenting plans have to include who will have possession of your children, and when, as well as who will provide child support, and how much it will be. Parenting plans are also a required aspect of a divorce proceeding involving children in the state of Texas.
Like the rest of the divorce proceeding, parenting plans begin to get crafted out-of-court through negotiation between you and your partner. If you're able to come to an agreement on the terms of the parenting plan, then it can be proposed to the court for inclusion in the final order. However, if you can't come to an agreement on the terms of the parenting plan, then the court will step in and create one that it considers to be in the child's best interests.
Because it often comes as the result of negotiation between you and your partner, the terms of a parenting plan are made to be as easy as possible on all parties involved. However, poor negotiation skills can result in a parenting plan that not only is difficult for you to uphold, but also doesn't even get you what you want.
With plenty of experience representing clients going through a divorce, the attorneys at Dreyer & Mazaheri are highly skilled negotiators, who know the pitfalls that often come in parenting plan discussions. They're able to help you realize what it is, exactly, that you want out of the parenting plan, and then develop a solid plan that will get it for you. Even if negotiations don't work out, and the court has to come up with a parenting plan, Dreyer & Mazaheri have experience advocating in front of a family law judge, to help you come away with the terms that benefit you.
The custody hearing is where you and your partner would need to present a proposed parenting plan, if you were able to develop one. If you weren't able to create one, then the custody hearing is where the judge or mediator will hear the arguments that prevent a resolution, and make a decision.
Generally, if you come to the custody hearing with a proposed parenting plan, the court will adopt it, so long as it's in the child's best interests. Once adopted, the parenting plan will not be able to be changed or modified unless there's been a significant change in someone's circumstances, or both parents agree to the alteration.
Having a skilled family law attorney on your side for the custody hearing is the best way to make sure that it turns out well. Being prepared by knowing what to expect and the questions that you'll have to answer at the hearing is the way to ensure that you get what you want. Over the course of their time representing clients throughout the divorce process, Dreyer & Mazaheri have developed their experience and learned valuable lessons at handling the custody hearing. This experience can make a huge difference in the custody dispute, and help you get the custody outcome that you want.
Once the court has adopted a parenting plan, it cannot be changed unless there are certain conditions met. Generally, the court has to be satisfied that there's been a significant and relevant change to the circumstances surrounding the parenting plan, such as someone moving out of state, or losing a job. Both parties typically have to agree to a change to the parenting plan, in order for it to become official. This often results in additional negotiations. While modifications have the tendency to make the divorce proceedings drag on, they're often important to make sure that everyone is able to meet their obligations.
Dreyer & Mazaheri
Child custody is often the centerpiece of a divorce case. Maintaining a relationship with children is one of the most important things for most parents going through a divorce. This makes custody one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. As a result, having an experienced family law attorney from Dreyer & Mazaheri representing you throughout the process, will allow you to traverse the rocky legal terrain.
Call their law office at (210) 472-1400 if you need help in the custody process.