Nothing Is More Important Than Your Child
Whether you are going through a divorce, involved in a paternity action, or need to change or enforce an existing parenting plan, you want to do what is best for your child. However, you may find that everyone involved has a different idea about what outcome is truly in your child’s best interest. As a parent, your natural response is to fight.
At Weinman & Associates, P.C., in Austin, we understand that response. Our founding attorney, Daryl Weinman, is not only a child of divorce, but has gone through a divorce as well. As a mother and a stepmother, she knows the joys and anxieties of raising children.
Our family law firm will help you remain focused on the best interests of your child. The truth is, fights are best avoided. In most cases, doing what is best for the child means negotiating or mediating an agreement with the other parent. However, when necessary, we are prepared to litigate to protect your parental rights and achieve your goals.
Creative Co-Parenting Solutions
Whenever possible, we try to create win-win solutions that enable children to enjoy meaningful relationships with both parents. Regardless of your current relations with the other parent, you have a lot of years to work together for your children. For this reason and for the sake of the children, we seek to help parents work out a creative co-parenting solution that preserves and enhances the child’s interaction with each parent.
We definitely know how to get creative in order to protect parental relationships. Courts in Texas used to favor traditional outcomes. Nowadays though, it is different. Unmarried parents may work in different shifts, have varying work hours or need to travel for their job. To allow for these and other conditions, the courts are much more willing to consider creative parenting plans that provide flexibility and encourage meaningful parent-child relationships.
We also encourage the noncustodial parent to take every opportunity to be involved in his or her child’s life. Simple measures such as extending weekday visitation from school pickup to school drop-off, getting to know teachers and staff at the school, coaching a sports team, and using webcams or mobile phones to ensure daily contact can work wonders in the relationship between a child and a noncustodial parent.
Our lawyers will answer any child custody questions you have along the way as we work to develop a customized outcome that recognizes and accounts for unique factors. We want to help you enjoy a full and meaningful relationship with your children.
Interstate And International Child Custody Issues
With more than 20 years of experience, we are well-positioned to handle the most complex child custody issues. This includes interstate child custody issues dictated by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and international child custody cases covered by the Hague Convention.
Are you going through a divorce in which you or your spouse wants to move out of state or out of the country with your child? We can help you review long-distance visitation and parenting plan options, or take steps to prevent the move if appropriate. Has your child been abducted and taken out of state or overseas by the other parent? You can be confident that we have the base of knowledge and legal acumen to get your child back safely.
The Parenting Plan Can Change Over Time
Very young children have far different emotional and parental needs than older children. In this situation, it may make sense to have a graduated visitation schedule that changes as the child grows older. The noncustodial parent’s visitation time may increase from year two to year three to year four, and beyond. As the child enters the teenage years, he or she may desire a completely different plan of spending time in both households. We can assist with modification and enforcement of parenting plans as children get older and needs change.
Child Custody FAQ
We are committed to giving you the knowledge you need to make informed decisions. For that reason, we have provided answers to some of the most common questions about child custody.
How is child custody determined?
The driving force in every Texas child custody case is the best interests of the child. The needs of the parents are not the primary concern, by any means. Of course, everyone will have a different opinion about what is truly in the child’s best interest. The current relationship between each parent and the child will play an important role. Who is currently helping the child with homework, going to after-school activities and spending time with the child? Is it equal?
We recommend that parents work together, through either negotiation or mediation, to reach agreements about child custody arrangements. We know how to facilitate agreements that will protect your relationship with your child and serve your child’s best interests.
Will I get joint custody?
In Texas, joint custody is referred to as joint managing conservatorship (JMC). Frequently, because the courts believe that both parents should be equally involved in their child’s lives, the parents will be made joint managing conservators. A standard possession order (SPO) will then be created that outlines each parent’s rights and responsibilities.
In some cases, though, the state awards sole custody, in which one parent will be known as the sole managing conservator. Noncustodial parents who have visitation rights with the child are also known as possessory conservators.
What if one of the parents wants to move?
The parent with conservatorship or custody of the child cannot simply move to another city, state or country with the child without permission. Unfortunately, this happens occasionally, and it may become a case of interstate or international child abduction. These cases are serious and complex and require the attention of an attorney well-versed in the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and the Hague Convention.
Whether a move-away has already occurred or you are considering or concerned about a potential relocation, we can offer you the guidance you need.
Do child custody arrangements affect child support?
Yes, in most cases, the noncustodial parent will be required to make child support payments to the custodial parent. The amount will depend on the specifics of the parenting arrangements.