Divorcing in Texas When You Have Children

When a couple is divorcing, the best interests of the kids are the court’s first priority.  In fact, the court expects that the child’s best interest is the first priority for the parents and their attorney.

Who Gets To Keep the Children in a Texas DivorceFiling for Divorce With Children

Who Keeps the Kids?

For this reason, where the child lives when the divorce is still pending is among the first things the parents should consider.

It is up to you or your spouse to request for a Temporary Orders Hearing and ask the court to determine who the children live with. The temporary order hearing is like a small trial where lawyers present evidence and both parents need to testify.

The reason this hearing is important is that it helps determine who the children get to stay with and what happens to the community estate. One of the things the court will consider before determining who gets to live with the kids is who the children continued to live with when the parents separated.

To avoid high litigation fees and the emotional toll of a custody battle, you and your spouse can agree on who gets to keep the kids as the divorce process continues.

This agreement can be reached through a mediator at mediation. An agreement reached by parents during mediation is also called a temporary order.

The Importance of Temporary Custody Orders

Temporary custody is important because it establishes stability for the minor children when the divorce is ongoing.  Temporary orders usually determine the following:

  • The child’s rights and duties
  • What type of conservatorship is best for the child
  • Visitation rights for each parent
  • Child support as the divorce process continues

The other issues that a temporary order can help resolve include:

  • Possibility that a parent may be denied visitation
  • Refusal to pay or inadequate payment of child support
  • Having the child returned by the non-custodial parent after visitation
  • Need for support due to loss of income

You need to know that a court may require you and your spouse to participate in mediation before it accepts to start a Temporary Orders Hearing.

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Preparing for Temporary Custody

You will be asked about the good qualities and shortcoming of both you and your spouse during the temporary orders hearing. So think carefully about how you will answer when you are asked questions about your qualities and shortcomings.

You may also need to secure photographs of you and your children participating in various activities, because they can be used to argue on your behalf during the hearing.

You should start thinking about the reasons you will give if you are asked in court what makes you the parent that should have primary possession of your children.

When Both Parents Are The Right Choice

A primary parent is the one that has exclusive right to decide where the child gets to live. If both parents are suitable to be the primary parent, the court will have to consider other factors to determine who is suitable to be the primary parent. Some of the things the court will consider include:

  • The parent that fed and bathed the child
  • The parent that took the child to daycare
  • The parent  that took the child to doctor’s appointments
  • The parent that helped the child with homework