Texas courts always strive to make custody decisions that are in the best interest of the child involved. They also usually operate under a presumption that a child benefits from regular contact with both parents. For those reasons, an Allen child custody lawyer can never guarantee that a parent will be granted sole custody. However, there are ways to demonstrate to the court that it is in a child's best interest to award physical or legal custody to a particular parent or to terminate the other parent’s rights. 

Custody Terminology in Texas

A child custody lawyer in Allen will need to use the terms incorporated in Texas law, which differ from the terms most people use when talking about custody. The state laws refer to custody as conservatorship. Both legal custody, which is the right to make decisions about upbringing such as those related to education, religion, medical care and other important issues, and physical custody, which refers to the child’s residence, are encompassed under the term “managing conservatorship” in Texas law. When a parent has visitation rights only, they are said to have “possessory conservatorship.”. 

Courts often address physical and legal custody separately and may award these forms solely to one parent or to both jointly. For instance, one parent might be granted sole physical custody while both parents share decision-making. Or physical custody might be split between parents in an unequal distribution. 

Factors That Can Weigh in a Parent’s Favor When Seeking Custody

Courts look at various factors when determining which parent a child should live with and who should be making decisions about the child’s future. An experienced Allen child custody lawyer could help parents seeking custody demonstrate that many factors weigh in their favor. 

There still can be a tendency for people to assume it is in a child’s best interest to live with the mother most of the time, at least when they are young. Fathers who seek a 50/50 custody ruling or want to seek sole conservatorship should be prepared to show substantial involvement in the child’s life. Keeping records of activities such as picking a child up from school, attending school functions, and other actions can help establish involvement. Either parent can make their living arrangements look more attractive to the court by showing they have a work schedule that allows flexibility in hours and time spent away from the home. 

Of course, parents who hope to win custody must also know what to avoid, and a knowledgeable family law attorney can also provide advice in that area. For instance, what one parent considers fun might be considered reckless to the other. A parent trying to win custody might do well to avoid activities that could be viewed as exposing a child to unnecessary danger.

Termination of Parental Rights

One parent will generally have difficulty showing that the other parent’s rights should be terminated unless that parent relinquishes their rights voluntarily. Generally, a parent would need to show that the other parent has taken actions that amount to abandonment or endangerment to justify terminating that parent’s rights. Actions that could be argued to warrant termination could include:

  • Domestic violence 
  • Use of a controlled substance in a way that endangers the child’s health or safety
  • Voluntarily leaving the child with someone else for at least three months without providing support or expressing the intention of returning
  • Being criminally responsible for the death of a child
  • Voluntarily left the child with someone besides the other parent and stating an intention to never return
  • Allowing a child to be placed in surroundings that endangered the child’s physical or emotional health

An Allen Child Custody Lawyer Could Help Win Custody 

Whether your goal is an equitable custody arrangement or termination of the other parent’s rights, the first step toward a successful outcome is to consult an Allen child custody lawyer who understands how to handle your situation. For a fully confidential consultation to learn more about how to win custody in your case, contact our office now.