Child Custody – Visitation Rights – Child Custody Changes

Original Child Custody (Paternity) Suits
-Establish Child Support | Establish Visitation | Limit Visitation

Child Custody Modification Suits
-Custody changes | Long-distance visitation provisions | Work-related custom visitation schedules

Child Custody and Family Law in Dallas

Original Suits (Paternity)

Many times when a child is born, the parents are not married to one another. In these cases, the parent not in possession of the child usually has a duty of support to the child. If the couple cannot or does not want to get married, a court order must be put in place to specify which parent has what rights concerning care, custody, and control of a child. There are only certain individuals who may bring a custody suit, and there are timelines that may affect one person’s ability to file such a suit. How the case is approached depends on the facts of each unique case, and therefore a consultation with a family law attorney on child custody issues is necessary.

Modification Suits

There are many reasons to change an original custody order or a final divorce decree that includes child custody provisions. Sometimes a change in residence of a parent, or new spouses of one parent makes this necessary, and sometimes the safety or development of the child makes filing a modification suit necessary. Some aspects of an order are easily modified, but many aspects are very difficult to modify, and it must be proved to a court that the modification is in the best interest of the child. As with original suits, all cases are very unique and specific to their facts, and therefore a consultation with a family law attorney is necessary to see if your child custody case is appropriate for filing a modification suit.

Some of the most common reasons people file custody modification suits are:

  • Moving from one state to another
  • New spouse or boy/girlfriend of one parent has problems with child
  • Old order inaccurate to new life changes of parent or child
  • Safety issue regarding child
  • Change in residence of child from one parent to another
  • Support issues
  • Standard visitation in order incompatible with one or both parents’ work schedules
  • Special medical/educational needs of child
  • Limit/Remove visitation under certain circumstances

Visitation Rights (Obtain and Enforce)

An original suit (see above) must be filed for a father who is not married to the mother of his child to obtain enforceable visitation rights to a child. Also, if a prior custody order was issued by a court without visitation provisions, the father must file a modification in order to attempt to obtain visitation rights. In these cases, a consultation with a family law attorney is necessary to determine what you should do, based on your facts and Texas law. Visitation rights can be enforced against a parent who is not complying with a court order by having an attorney file an enforcement motion. There are very specific facts required to enforce, and a consultation with a family law attorney is necessary to determine if your child custody case is ready for an enforcement motion.

Grandparent Custody

Several factors, including one major U.S. Supreme Court case from 1999, affect the ability of grandparents to seek custody of their grandchildren. These issues are legally complex, and require a consultation with a family law attorney to see if your facts are right under Texas and federal law to file for child custody of your grandchildren.