Child custody & visitation are some of the hardest parts of divorce cases. If you asked most parents to name the most important thing in their life, they would most likely tell you that their child and their relationship with that child is the most important. Located in Amarillo, TX, the child custody lawyers at Woodburn and Watkins understand the importance of your parent-child bond – and how to make the best argument to preserve this precious relationship.
What a Judge Considers When Deciding Child Custody & Visitation in Texas
In determining which parent will have custody (technically called “the right to establish the primary residence of the children”) as well as the restrictions on where that parent can live with the children, the child custody & visitation attorneys at Woodburn and Watkins know that the Court will always look at what is in the best interests of the children. Convincing the court that the children’s best interests will be served by you having custody or significant time with them is our number-one priority.
Child Custody & Visitation: The Negatives
In some cases, one parent’s actions, lifestyle, or living circumstances may demonstrate that a parent is abusive, neglectful or endangering to the child’s physical or emotional well-being. If the facts demonstrate this endangerment, Woodburn and Watkins will aggressively argue for supervised possession.
Child Custody & Visitation: The Positives
However, in most cases the Court does not determine whether or not a parent will endanger a child. Instead the Court will evaluate two good parents who no longer are able to live together or parent cooperatively. In these circumstances, the attorney’s role is to highlight their client’s positive parenting aspects, minimize any negative aspects, and emphasize any negative parenting aspects of the other spouse to effectively demonstrate why you are the better choice.
Evaluating Your Case for Child Custody & Visitation
Woodburn and Watkins will spend quality time evaluating you and the other party during a child custody & visitation case. Some matters that will be addressed include the following:
- Which party will best provide for the child’s physical and emotional needs and development now and in the future?
- Does either party pose a physical or emotional danger to the child now or in the future?
- Are there any concerns over the stability of a party’s home?
- What are each party’s plans for the child?
- What is each party’s ability to give the child first priority to reach shared decisions with the other parent?
- How well do the parties discipline, encourage or demonstrate good parenting skills?
- Who was the child’s primary caregiver before the suit?
- Do the parties reside in close relation to each other? Does one party wish to move a significant distance from the other party?
- Does the child have other siblings? Will they be separated? What effect will the separation have on the siblings?
- Has either party engaged in extramarital relations?
- Are the parties able to encourage and accept a positive relationship between the child and the other party or parties?
- Has either party ever knowingly made a false report of child abuse?
- Is there any danger of the child being abducted by a parent to a foreign country?
- Does either party have a drug, alcohol, or other chemical abuse problem?
- Is there any credible evidence of a history or pattern of past or present child neglect, physical abuse or sexual abuse by one parent directed against the other parent, a spouse or the child?
- Does either party’s sexual conduct render that party unfit to act as a parent?
- Has either party been diagnosed with or exhibit signs of a mental health issue?
- Has either party engaged in illegal, illicit, unethical or criminal behavior? Are there any convictions?
- What involvement in religious exercise has each party engaged in? Are the parties both of the same religion?
- What involvement has each parent had in extra-curricular, school work, PTA, and other child-related activities?
- Has either parent devoted time to charitable, religious, or public endeavors?
Jury Trial for Custody Disputes
Custody litigation is one area of family law where Texas allows a jury to determine both who will have the right to decide where the child lives, and also whether there will be a designated geographic area (i.e. city, county, series of counties, state, etc.) in which the parent and child are required to live.
Preparation is Everything
In most cases involving child custody & visitation, there are two critical hearings. In the first hearing, called the “temporary hearing,” the judge will make an initial determination that will generally remain in place until the final adjudication, which can occur in as little as sixty days but normally occurs several months later. The attorneys at Woodburn and Watkins, located in Amarillo, TX, will seek all evidence necessary to support your argument for custody or possession at any hearing involving these decisions. We will look for available evidence supporting your case, suggest expert witnesses and investigative services, work to choose the appropriate custody evaluator, interview and marshal your witnesses, and spend as much time as necessary to prepare you for your testimony so as to provide the most effective presentation of your case in an organized and persuasive manner. Further, Woodburn and Watkins will prepare you, their client, and all necessary witnesses for any hearing that involves a custody determination.
Good Communication is Vital
It is vitally important that you develop trust in the attorneys that are representing you. The lawyers at Woodburn and Watkins are devoted to their clients, learned in their knowledge of the law, and committed to providing quality representation to their clients. However, all that work may be fruitless if a client fails to update their attorney on the status of their case in a timely manner. We commit that the lawyers in our firm will diligently communicate with you to develop the best argument as to why you should be awarded the right to primary custody. Our lawyers will develop evidence that will spotlight the negative or questionable aspects of the other parent’s behavior or lifestyle as well as evidence that will minimize any negative or questionable aspects of your case and enhance the positive aspects of you and your relationship with your child.
We Can Help to Protect Your Bond with Your Children
With some 25 years in combined practice of law, the attorneys at Woodburn and Watkins, located in Amarillo, Texas, have a long and distinguished record of successful custody litigation. Divorce and questions regarding raising children in divided homes is extremely stressful. Parents need someone who has experience helping people through the emotional and trying times of child custody & visitation disputes. Divorce is second only to the death of a loved one as a trigger for mental anguish. Woodburn and Watkins have experienced paralegals, attorneys, and staff to help you through this difficult time and protect your bond with your children. If you are located in Amarillo, Potter County, or the Texas Panhandle, and you need help with custody issues, contact us today.