Category: Texas Family Law

Can A Father Win Custody in Texas

Can A Father Win Custody in Texas?

Are you a father looking to win primary child custody in Texas? Working with an experienced Texas family law attorney can help you to build a strong child custody case to present to a judge in the state of Texas court system.

How Fathers Can Get Custody

It is fully possible for fathers to get full custody of their children. However, there are aspects of a custody case where fathers may have an additional burden to prove that mothers do not. These include paternity, the primary caretaker role, and home environment quality.

Paternity

There are two ways to determine paternity: biologically or legally. Under the Uniform Parentage Act, a man is an “alleged father” if they have not established biological paternity or achieved presumed fatherhood.8 The law often distinguishes between the legal and biological recognition of paternity: “Where such births result from sexual intercourse between consenting adults, genetic ties almost always themselves determine legal motherhood, but often only help determine legal fatherhood.”6

However, legal parentage is required to receive the constitutional rights that make the tender years doctrine unlawful.

In cases where the father is not married to the mother, but another man is, courts have ruled that fatherhood may be determined by who the mother is married to, rather than biology.9 If a father is not married to the mother, or if he does not sign an acknowledgment of paternity, he cannot be granted custody or visitation rights.6

Primary Caregiver Role

A primary caregiver is a person who consistently is responsible for the housing, health, and safety of another.10 In custody proceedings, courts assume the primary caretaker is experienced and knowledgeable regarding the child’s educational needs, medical needs, and more. As family dynamics shift from stay-at-home mothers and working fathers, there may be a presumption on who mostly handles the roles of primary caretaker. Fathers must show their engagement in caring for their child academically, medically, and in other critical areas.

In families where the mother does stay home or work less, there is a preconceived notion that children’s bond with the stay-at-home parent is stronger than their bond with the working parent. As part of making decisions within the child’s best interests, a change in primary caregiver is typically considered as causing at least some distress to the child.11

Because of this, courts are hesitant to change a child’s primary care provider unless it is in the child’s best interest.11 The non-primary caretaker parent should offer some other evidence counterbalancing this finding, such as the child’s aptitude to adjust to new environments.

The mere fact that a parent balances work and family needs should not be determinative in decisions regarding their aptitude to connect with their children. Therefore, it is necessary to examine the working-parent and child relationship on an individual basis. Doing so would provide that parent with the opportunity to demonstrate the strength of their relationship during a custodial proceeding.

Mothers, whether they work or not, statistically, tend to have more responsibility for parenting aspects such as attending parent-teacher conferences, school plays, doctor visits, playing at parks, helping with homework, and other activities. In fact, studies have found that 48% of fathers in the U.S. participated in their children’s school activities once a year or less.12

A father seeking custody may need to overcome this and demonstrate to the court that they participate in all aspects of parenting, not just financially. Courts appear to want the primary caretaker to be an experienced and knowledgeable parent who knows how the child learns best, their major health needs, etc.7 Demonstrating involvement in these crucial aspects of care is important.

Quality of the Home Environment

The quality of the home environment is another element of the “best interest standard” that may further burden fathers due to beliefs about their parenting when compared with mothers.11

When looking at this element, the courts consider things like intellectual, emotional, and cultural factors. Courts weigh the quality of the home environment for both parents, however, when neither home is harmful in any way, courts will also take into account which home is just better.11 For example, a parent filing for primary physical custody may cite superior academic opportunities and zoning catchments, showing the court that they have a well-developed educational plan for their child.

In addition, there may be incorrect assumptions about the father’s capability to meet the child’s emotional needs. Thus, a father should demonstrate his understanding of his child’s emotional needs. The emotional wellness of a child is an important factor in determining where a child should live.

Working with an experienced family law attorney can help responsible fathers win custody of their children in Texas.

Affordable Family Lawyer in Houston, TX

Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.

 

Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #586
Houston, TX 77092
(713) 956-6767
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How Can I Revise My Custody Agreement

How Can I Revise My Custody Agreement?

Are you looking for answers for how you can revise your custody agreement? Working with an experienced family law attorney can provide you with solutions to this problem to help promote the best interest of your child or children.

At Renken Law Firm we provide legal advice on a wide range of family court matters including custody of a child, child custody modification process, visitation schedule, child support payment, and more. Call us today to schedule a consultation for modifying your child custody agreement.

Who can file a modification case?

Either parent can file a modification case.

If you are not the child’s parent, you can file a modification case if:

  • You are listed as a party in the current order,
  • You have had actual care, control and possession of the child for at least 6 months ending not more than 90 days before the date you file the modification case with the court and you are not a foster parent.
  • You have lived with the child and the child’s parent, guardian or conservator for at least 6 months ending not more than 90 days before the date you file the modification case, and the child’s parent, guardian or conservator has died.
  • You are the child’s grandparent, great-grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew and:
  • Both parents are dead,
  • Both parents, the surviving parent or managing conservator agree,
  • The child’s present circumstances will significantly harm the child’s physical health or emotional development.

The Texas Attorney General Child Support Division can also file a modification case.

Where do I file a modification case?

You must file a modification case in the Texas county where the current order was made.

If the child has lived in another Texas county for the last 6 months, you must still file the modification case in the county where the current order was made. However, you have the option of asking the court to transfer the case to the child’s new home county. You must file a Motion to Transfer at the same time you file your Petition to Modify the Parent-Child Relationship. Talk to a lawyer about whether this makes sense for your case.

If your child has lived in another state for the last 6 months, talk with a lawyer about where to file your case.

Who is the “petitioner” in a modification case?

The person asking for the current order to be changed is the “petitioner.” This is true even if that person is listed as a “respondent” in the existing order.

Who must be listed as a “respondent” in a modification case?

Anyone else listed as a party in the current order must be listed as a “respondent.”

If the Office of the Attorney General Child Support Division is listed as a party in the current order you must also list it as a “respondent.”

Will the judge change my court order?

It depends. There are legal standards that judges must follow before changing a court order. It is up to the person asking for the change to prove the legal standard. Read about the different legal standards below.

What is the legal standard to change child support or medical support?

To change child support or medical support you must prove that:

  • The circumstances of the child, a conservator or other person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed, or
  • It has been at least three years since the last child support order, and a new support order, based on child support guidelines, would differ from the last support order by at least 20% or $100.

What is a “material and substantial change in circumstances” for changing child support or medical and dental support?

Generally, this means that at least one of these things has happened:

  • The income of the parent ordered to pay child support has either increased or decreased, or
  • The parent ordered to pay child support is legally responsible for additional children, or
  • The child’s medical insurance coverage has changed, or
  • The child’s living arrangements have changed.
  • If you still are wondering

 

How Can I Revise My Custody Agreement?

Reach out to our team to learn more about the process of modifying your child custody agreement.

Affordable Family Lawyer in Houston, TX

Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.

 

Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #586
Houston, TX 77092
(713) 956-6767
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Win Custody in Your Divorce Case

Win Custody in Your Divorce Case

Are you a Houston parent that wants to win custody in your divorce case? Working with an experienced family law attorney can help you in your child custody battle. Our family law firm will work with you either through mediation to reach an agreement regarding your parenting plan or to help you gain full custody and child support in court.

Learn more about the different types of custody and factors that go into determining who will win child custody below.

Types of Custody Arrangements

There’s no one-size-fits-all custody arrangement; the terms of your final custody plan are supposed to be tailored to meet the needs of your family.

The final custody order should normally address both physical custody (which parent the child lives with) and legal custody (which parent has the right and obligation to make decisions about the child’s upbringing).

Most custody orders divvy up custody in one of the following ways:

  • sole legal custody and sole physical custody to one parent
  • sole physical custody and joint (shared) legal custody
  • joint physical custody and joint legal custody, or
  • sole legal custody and joint physical custody (rare).

When an order specifies that one parent has sole physical custody, the judge will typically create a visitation schedule to ensure the child has the opportunity to enjoy a meaningful relationship with the noncustodial parent.

Who Decides Custody?

As is the case with most family law issues, courts will give a lot of weight to any agreements that parents reach regarding child custody. If parents can work together to achieve a fair and proper custody arrangement, the judge will likely adopt it into a court order. Working together is the best opportunity for parents to control what happens to their families after a separation or divorce.

If you’ve tried talking with your spouse or participated in child custody mediation, but you still disagree on how to allocate custody and visitation, the court will decide for you. In most states, the judge must investigate and apply specific factors to every custody decision. Once the judge enters a child custody order, it is binding on and enforceable by both parents, even if one disagrees.

How Courts Make Custody Decisions

Almost all courts use a standard that gives the “best interests of the child” the highest priority when deciding custody issues. What a judge considers to be in the best interests of the child depends on many factors, including:

  • the child’s age, sex, and mental and physical health
  • each parent’s mental and physical health
  • each parent’s lifestyle and other social factors,
  • the emotional bond between each parent and child, as well as each parent’s ability to give the child guidance
  • each parent’s ability to provide the child with food, shelter, clothing, and medical care
  • the child’s established living pattern (school, home, community, religious institution)
  • the quality of the child’s education in the current situation
  • the impact on the child of changing the status quo, and
  • the child’s preference if the child is mature enough to express an opinion.

Assuming that none of these factors favors one parent over the other, most courts tend to focus on which parent is likely to provide the child with a stable environment and better foster the child’s relationship with the other parent. When the child is young, this might mean awarding custody to the parent who has been the child’s primary caregiver. With an older child, the court’s best interests evaluation might lean in favor of the parent who can foster continuity in education, neighborhood life, religious life, and peer relationships.

In tough child custody cases—such as those where one parent is claiming that the other is “unfit”—judges might order a child custody evaluation. Parents can request a custody evaluation even when a judge doesn’t. A child custody evaluator can provide information and recommendations that will help the judge decide what’s in the child’s best interests.

Are there special issues if a gay or lesbian parent is seeking custody or visitation rights?

Generally, the court will consider a parent’s sexual orientation only if it negatively impacts the child. For example, suppose a child’s parent enters into an abusive relationship with a same-sex partner, causing the child to experience domestic violence that requires frequent moves between homes, hospitalizations, or police intervention. In that case, the court is less likely to award custody to that parent. Instead, the court will allocate parental responsibility to the other parent if the judge finds that parent to be “fit” under the law.

However, lesbian, gay, or transgender parents might still experience discrimination from judges who can’t set aside their own prejudices when evaluating what’s in a child’s best interests. These judges might be motivated by their own or community prejudices and might try to conceal the true reasons for their decisions by citing issues other than the lesbian or gay parent’s sexual orientation to deny custody or appropriate visitation.

Attorney Renken can help you win custody in your divorce case. Reach out to us today to learn more about how to resolve your divorce issues.

Affordable Family Lawyer Serving Houston, TX

Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.

 

Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #586
Houston, TX 77092
(713) 956-6767
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How Can I Strengthen My Case For Custody

How Can I Strengthen My Case For Custody

One of the most common questions divorcing parents ask is: How Can I Strengthen My Case For Custody?

Child custody can be a very sensitive subject for families to take on. Not only are the emotions of both parents on the line, the welfare of any child involved is also.

You may feel frustrated and unsure of how to go about proving that you are the better suited parent for custody. It is important that you navigate this situation delicately, involving your children as minimally as possible.

Working with an experienced family law attorney can help you to make a strong case for why you are the parent that should be awarded custody. Attorney Dawn Renken is familiar with child custody cases in Texas and can provide your with the information and guidance you will need to make the most informed choices for your child.

Understand the ‘Better Parent’ Standard

A lot of parents go into a child custody hearing with the intention of seeking sole custody. For some parents, this is because they believe that the other parent is “unfit” to raise their child. Others would prefer to have sole custody for other reasons.

However, any parent hoping to win child custody should realize that there is a higher burden of proof for the parent seeking sole custody. Factors that play a role in this decision:

Courts don’t want to interfere in parent/child relationships: Most judges are reluctant to prevent either parent from having a relationship with their child because the implication is that both parents, together, are best able to care for a child.

One parent must be established as a better parent: To award sole custody, the courts have to establish one parent as the ‘better parent,’ which can be difficult to do, particularly if both parents have been involved up until this point.

The burden of proof is on you: As a result, any parent seeking sole custody has to prove that he or she is best able to care for a child, with or without the assistance of the other parent.

From a judge’s standpoint, parents should not be “trashing” one another during a child custody hearing. Instead, the parent seeking sole custody should focus on proving that he or she is the better parent without attacking his or her counterpart.

Prove You’re the Better Parent

Parents seeking sole custody should focus on the following factors to support a sole custody petition:

  • The physical well-being of the child: For example, focus on your child’s routine, sleeping habits, eating schedule, and after-school activities. Judges tend to notice parents who encourage a healthy lifestyle.
  • The psychological well-being of the child: For example, making sure that the child has access to liberal visitation with the other parent. Judges tend to favor parents who openly support the child’s ongoing relationship with the other parent.

If you are still wondering, “How Can I Strengthen My Case For Custody?” Set up a consultation with our legal team. We will work with you to tackle your custody issue and support the best interests of the child.

 

Affordable Family Lawyer Serving Houston, TX

Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.

 

Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #586
Houston, TX 77092
(713) 956-6767
https://therenkenlawfirm.com
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Family Law Attorney Serving the Greater Houston Area

Family Law Attorney Serving the Greater Houston Area

Family law lawyers can help you with a wide range of legal issues including divorce, custody, paperwork, asset division, and much more. When you are looking for legal advice working with an experience family law attorney can provide you with invaluable insight. Renken Law Firm proudly provides legal representation in Harris county and the Greater Houston area for a wide range of family law matters. We represent our clients to help them protect themselves and promote the best interests of any children involved in their legal matters. Contact our office today to learn more about how we can help you.

4 Good Reasons to Hire a Family Lawyer

Legal Advocacy and Protection:

A family lawyer is well aware of the family laws and the outcomes of similar past cases. Therefore, he can use his that knowledge and experience to get the best possible outcomes for you. He knows to present your case in the court so that the judge will see your side. Of course, you do not have any experience or legal knowledge to fall back on. Especially if the other party is represented by an attorney, it’s easier to take advantage of the lack of legal knowledge. A family attorney guides you about realistic and unrealistic threats, and how to protect your rights.

Proper Filing of Paperwork:

Numerous documents need to be filed and signed during a family law case such as divorce. If you do not have any law experience, you become overwhelmed while trying to make sure every document is submitted properly. The judge has the option to exclude any or all of the documents that are not drafted correctly. By hiring a family lawyer Toronto, you can rest assured that your paperwork is done properly, including drafting, filing, and submitting documents while meeting the time restrictions.

Settle the Child Custody Dispute:

The most complex and stressful part of a divorce case is the war between the divorcing parents to have sole physical custody of their kids. A family attorney will work in your best interests to meet your desire of having sole guardianship right. Generally, the family courts allow shared custody while legal custody may be mutual or sole. Therefore, it’s recommended for couples not to be arrogant on custody issues because there is no way you can achieve the sole custody of your children unless there is solid evidence to prove that the counterparty is unfit to have custody right, e.g. mental illness, addiction, or abusiveness. Your efforts to prove your supremacy of being the best parent for your child’s development and safety and can go against your interest and a lawyer is the one who guides you regarding these potential consequences.

Make Your Spouse Pay Spousal/Child Support:

The issues regarding violation of divorce agreement such as skipping, stopping or denial to pay child support money are common among ex-spouses. Child or Spousal support is the maintenance money an obliged parent has to pay the ex-spouse as per instruction of the court. A family lawyer can help you to resolve the issue if the other parent is not paying the child support money. If you are the obliged person and not able to pay the money due to a financial loss, a family lawyer will help to apply for lessening the support money.

Affordable Family Lawyer Serving Houston, TX

Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.

 

Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #586
Houston, TX 77092
(713) 956-6767
https://therenkenlawfirm.com
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Child Custody Modification Attorney in Houston

Child Custody Modification Attorney in Houston

Who can file a modification case?

Either parent can file a modification case.

If you are not the child’s parent, you can file a modification case if:

  • You are listed as a party in the current order,
  • You have had actual care, control and possession of the child for at least 6 months ending not more than 90 days before the date you file the modification case with the court and you are not a foster parent.
  • You have lived with the child and the child’s parent, guardian or conservator for at least 6 months ending not more than 90 days before the date you file the modification case, and the child’s parent, guardian or conservator has died.
  • You are the child’s grandparent, great-grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew and:
  • Both parents are dead,
  • Both parents, the surviving parent or managing conservator agree,
  • The child’s present circumstances will significantly harm the child’s physical health or emotional development.

Where do I file a modification case?

You must file a modification case in the Texas county where the current order was made.

If the child has lived in another Texas county for the last 6 months, you must still file the modification case in the county where the current order was made. However, you have the option of asking the court to transfer the case to the child’s new home county. You must file a Motion to Transfer at the same time you file your Petition to Modify the Parent-Child Relationship. Talk to a lawyer about whether this makes sense for your case.

What is the legal standard to change child support or medical support?

To change child support or medical support you must prove that:

  • The circumstances of the child, a conservator or other person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed, or
  • It has been at least three years since the last child support order, and a new support order, based on child support guidelines, would differ from the last support order by at least 20% or $100.

 

Why Should I Hire An Attorney to Modify A Custody Order?

If you are looking to modify child support or a child custody order, our family law attorneys can help you. We work with you to promote the best interests of the child or children involved in your court order. If there is a reason that you need to modify visitation orders or make a support modification, we will help you to file all of the proper paperwork and navigate this legal process. Our law firm knows how important the welfare of your child is, this is why we work with you to make the process as smoothly as possible.

Affordable Family Lawyer Serving Houston, TX

Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.

 

Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #586
Houston, TX 77092
(713) 956-6767
https://therenkenlawfirm.com
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How Is Child Support Calculated in Texas

How Is Child Support Calculated in Texas?

The Noncustodial Parent Pays Child Support

In Texas, physical custody—the amount of time a parent spends with a child—determines who will make child support payments. Although a judge may order either or both parents to support a child, in most cases the “noncustodial parent” (the parent with the least amount of time with the child or children) pays child support. (This parent is also called the “obligor” in Texas child support laws.)

Just because the noncustodial usually pay child support, that doesn’t mean the other parent is off the hook for the costs of raising a child. Instead, the law assumes that the custodial parent support the child by spending money directly on the daily cost of raising the child.

How to Use the Texas Child Support Guidelines

Under the “income percentage” method used in the Texas child support guidelines, the amount of child support is generally based on a percentage of the noncustodial parent’s net monthly income.

For a simple estimate of child support in your case, you may use the online Monthly Child Support Calculator provided by the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG). But the calculator is designed only for situations when the custodial parent has a single source of income. For all other situations, you’ll need to determine net monthly income and the guideline amount of support by following the steps explained below.

Gross Income Included in Calculating Child Support

For child support purposes, income includes:

  • all wages and salary, including commissions, military pay, tips, overtime, and bonuses
  • self-employment income
  • interest and dividends
  • net rental income from property the parent owns

Even unemployed parents probably still have some income from sources such as:

  • severance pay
  • unemployment benefits
  • retirement benefits
  • veterans’ benefits
  • disability benefits, or
  • workers’ compensation awards.

If it’s appropriate, a judge may also assign an income value to a parent’s assets that don’t currently produce income (like a second house). For example, if an unemployed parent inherits property that could be sold, the judge might consider the property’s market value as part of the parent’s income.

When parents are voluntarily unemployed or underemployed to avoid making support payments, judges may impute (attribute) income based on what those parents should be earning.

Net Income for the Texas Child Support Guidelines

  • To figure the parent’s net resources for paying child support, subtract the following costs from the total gross income:
  • Social Security taxes or, if the parent doesn’t pay those taxes, any mandatory retirement plan contributions
  • federal and state income taxes (based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one exemption)
  • union dues
  • health and dental insurance premiums and other medical expenses for the child(ren) that the judge has ordered the parent to pay.

Parents who already pay child support for another child or children (from a different relationship) may take a credit for those payments. (Tex. Fam. Code §§ 154.062, 154.128, 154.129 (2022).)

In addition to the support amount determined by the guidelines, the parents will also have to cover the child’s health insurance.

Number of Children Requiring Support

Once you’ve established the noncustodial parent’s net monthly income (1/12 of the annual net income), multiply that number by a percentage based on how many children will be included in the child support. When net income isn’t above or below a certain threshold, the percentages are as follows:

  • 1 child = 20%
  • 2 children = 25%
  • 3 children = 30%
  • 4 children = 35%
  • 5 children = 40%
  • For 6 or more children, the amount must be at least the same as for five children

If the noncustodial parent’s net monthly resources are less than $1,000, each of the percentages shown above are reduced five percentage points (so they range from 15% to 35%).

When the noncustodial parent has net monthly resources above a certain level ($9,200 a month, under the adjustment made in 2019), the judge may increase the amount of support, depending on both parents’ incomes and the child’s needs.The threshold changes every six years to account for inflation.

Affordable Divorce Lawyer Serving Houston, TX

Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.

 

Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #586
Houston, TX 77092
(713) 956-6767
https://therenkenlawfirm.com
Google Business Listing

Child Custody Attorney in Houston

Child Custody Attorney in Houston

In a perfect world, you and the other parent of your child will be able to work together to create a child custody agreement that promotes the best for your child and works for both adults as well. Unfortunately, there are many issues that can arise causing conflict when trying to reach an agreement about your child’s custody.

At Renken Law Firm we understand how sensitive family legal matters involving children can be. Our team works with you every step of the way to help you reach a resolution that helps al parties involved. Listed below is some insight into when you may need to consider working with a lawyer for your custody dispute.

When It’s Time to Hire a Lawyer for Your Custody Dispute

You might want to talk to a family law lawyer for any number of reasons, but here are seven that often arise in child custody situations:

  1. The Other Parent Has a Lawyer

When the other parent hires a lawyer and you don’t have one, the balance of power in negotiations shifts. Lawyers are skilled in state custody laws and can typically advocate for their clients far better than people without formal training can represent themselves. Lawyers also understand the court’s procedures and might be familiar with past orders the judge has made in similar cases.

Many people choose to hire an attorney once they know that the other parent is represented. If you think you can’t afford an attorney to represent you throughout the entire custody process, consider consulting with one to get advice on how to best represent your interests. (You can also ask that attorney whether the other parent might have to contribute to your attorneys’ fees if you hire a lawyer.)

  1. Your Ex Has Moved (or Plans to Move)

When your co-parent lives in or is planning to move to another city, state, or country, it can be a challenge to figure out which area’s laws apply to your child custody dispute. Even when the laws are similar, the logistics of physical custody and visitation can get complicated. A lawyer can help you navigate the potential legal differences, and can offer advice on how to manage the day-to-day realities of custody and visitation based on the lawyer’s experience dealing with similar situations.

  1. You (or Your Children) Have Experienced Abuse

In cases where there is recent or ongoing child abuse or domestic violence, handling negotiations yourself or going to mediation without a lawyer might not be the best path to a resolution. If you can’t afford to hire a lawyer, you might find help from your local “legal aid” organization. In most states, legal aid organizations reserve resources for cases that involve children and have a record of abuse, and can sometimes provide free or low-cost representation.

  1. You Have Some Skeletons in Your Closet

Fighting for custody of your child can get heated, and it’s possible that your co-parent might attempt to sway the decision by bringing up some skeletons in your closet. If you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, past convictions, or even a record of arrests, you might want to hire a lawyer to help you explain why this history shouldn’t have an effect on the custody decision.

  1. Your Co-Parent’s Attitude Has Changed

If your co-parent’s approach to custody discussions suddenly takes a turn for the worse, it might be time to talk to an attorney. For example, failing to return calls or emails about your child, coming up with excuses as to why a planned visit can’t happen, or showing a general unwillingness to consider what’s in the best interest of your child are all red flags warning that you might be heading into a custody battle.

  1. You Don’t Like the Outcome of Your Child Custody Evaluation

In some states, when a parent files a custody request, a court staff member conducts a custody evaluation before bringing the case to the judge.

The custody evaluation usually involves an employee interviewing each parent and the child to evaluate the best fit for the child. Once the interviews are complete, the evaluator sends a custody recommendation to the court. If necessary, the evaluator will also meet with other important individuals, like social workers, teachers, or family members. (For information about the process, read our article on child custody evaluations.)

If you’re happy with the outcome of the evaluation, you might be able to skip hiring a lawyer. However, if you disagree with any part of the recommendation, you’ll have to ask the judge to review it in a court hearing. Convincing a judge that the recommendation should be disregarded can be an uphill battle, though, so you might want to consider hiring a lawyer to represent you at the hearing.

  1. You Need to Change an Existing Custody Agreement

Sometimes a parent needs to modify an existing custody order—for example, the child’s school schedule changes or a parent is being relocated for work. When you and your co-parent can’t come to an agreement about proposed changes to a custody agreement, consider hiring an attorney to help you assert your position.

 

Experienced Divorce Attorney Near Me

Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.

 

Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #586
Houston, TX 77092
(713) 956-6767
https://therenkenlawfirm.com
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Affordable Family Law Attorney Near Me

Affordable Family Law Attorney Near Me

When you need legal advice for a family matter, you will want to work with an experienced family law attorney. At Renken Law Firm we can help you find solutions for a wide range of legal matters to bring you peace of mind. Whether you are having difficulties with a family member, are fighting for fair child support, or a child custody plan that fits your family’s needs, our team is here for you. We represent our clients with their best interest in mind.

Benefits of Hiring a Family Law Lawyer

Knowledge of the Law

Divorce law, child custody law, and other family law varies from state to state. An experienced family lawyer in your state will know the relevant statutes that govern your situation.

Knowing the law is highly beneficial whether or not your case ends up in court. An experienced attorney can use their knowledge of the law to advocate for you in court and defend your rights. In addition, a knowledgeable attorney can help you reach a settlement or other out-of-court agreement. Many divorce cases never go to court. Instead, the parties to the divorce agree on terms through informal discussions or formal mediation. Knowing the law can help you negotiate a more favorable agreement with your spouse.

Objectivity and Professionalism

Family law issues are often deeply personal, and strong emotions can flare up during the case. A family law attorney has some distance from the underlying relationships in your situation. An attorney can often remain calm and logical when it may be difficult for you to do so. Family law attorneys also have experience communicating and negotiating over highly personal matters. A family lawyer will be able to avoid engaging with an argumentative spouse.

Hiring a family lawyer can be beneficial if interactions with your spouse or other parties are stressful or tense. An attorney can ease your emotional burden throughout the case, often resulting in a faster and more satisfactory resolution.

Organization 

While your legal issue is extremely important, the rest of your life cannot freeze until your case is resolved. It can be challenging to juggle work and your other responsibilities while staying on top of developments in your case. Legal paperwork often has to meet certain requirements, and courts have strict filing deadlines. If you miss a deadline, a court can dismiss your case or even enter a default judgment in the other party’s favor. Hiring an attorney can ensure that you meet all deadlines and that all your paperwork complies with relevant standards. It is your lawyer’s job to be aware of important dates in your case, and a good lawyer is highly organized and dependable. When you hire a family law attorney, you will not have to let your other responsibilities slide while you resolve your legal issues.

Honest Advice

If you hire a family law attorney, they will approach your case with your best interests in mind. The right lawyer will listen to all the details of your case without the judgment that can sometimes come from even close family and friends. An attorney will also give you straightforward honest advice about how you should proceed to achieve your desired outcome. If you think that your case could benefit from hiring a family lawyer, you should make sure your lawyer is someone you feel comfortable with and can trust.

 

Family Law Attorney For Hire

Dawn Renken is an experienced family law attorney that offers a wide variety of legal services for her clients. If you are dealing with a divorce, child custody issue, or another internal family problem that requires legal action, reach out to our law firm today. We will work with you to navigate this difficult time and to find solutions that serve your family best. Call us today to set up a consultation with our experienced legal team in Houston, Texas.

 

Experienced Divorce Attorney Near Me

Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.

 

Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #586
Houston, TX 77092
(713) 956-6767
https://therenkenlawfirm.com
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Family Law Attorney Near Me

Local Family Lawyers Near Me

When you are facing family legal issues, you will want to work with an experienced lawyer that is familiar with handling issues including child custody and visitation, divorce, child support, property division, and more. Attorney Dawn Renken has years of experience representing clients from all different backgrounds in order to help them find resolution with their family issues. If you are looking to find a family law attorney in the Houston area, reach out to our law firm today.

 

When Should I Hire A Family Lawyer?

Here are some instances where you should hire a family attorney:

  1. Family Issues

This is a wide area with different categories that will need the expertise of an attorney to help resolve issues if the need arises. These categories can include the following:

  • Divorce: This is the most common issue you would need a family lawyer for. After a disagreement leading to separation, the need for an attorney is a must to solve issues that come afterwards. These issues can include child custody, child support and visitation, and division of property. To ensure a divorce process goes smoothly, it’s imperative to hire a lawyer that’s well-versed in contested divorce matters. Their experience will be vitally important if the case cannot be settled prior to trial.
  • Guardianship: A family attorney is needed in the event a parent or parents cannot offer their children with the adequate care. Here, a guardian can come in to help make adult decisions concerning the child.
  • Domestic Abuse: When you feel you have been mistreated by your partner, you can have an attorney help you observe the precautions you need to follow to keep you and your children safe.
  • Child Adoption: Adoption is a great act of humanity, but you need to do it legally. When deciding to adopt, you will need an attorney to make sure the adoption process runs smoothly and lawfully.

A family law firm may also help with other incidences that can add up to this list as they can provide a full range of services relating to every aspect of family law.

  1. Filing Important Documents

Family attorneys can help in keeping important family documents. These documents can be presented as proof in case of any issues.

The Power of Attorney (POA) is a document giving another person permission to act on behalf of yourself. You can give someone permission to take care of your children or the family business when you are unable to due to sickness or old age.

Having an attorney present will ensure the deal is signed and the person given the responsibilities follows all the rules that have been laid down. An attorney can also give advice on the best person who can be responsible for such tasks.

  1. Writing Estate Plans And Wills

As mentioned, family lawyers manage legal issues within the family. When drafting estate plans and wills, it’s important to have an attorney present to keep the records of the will. When passing over your property to other family members after retirement or death, the family attorney can make sure the will is followed just as the owner wrote it to prevent any conflicts from arising. The attorney can also provide some legal advice and act as a mediator in case conflicts happen.

  1. Forming Civil Unions And Domestic Partnerships

A civil union is a legal relationship between two people who enjoy marriage rights, although it’s not a marriage. In other words, a domestic partnership is an interpersonal relationship between people who share a common life but are not married.

Unfortunately, these unions and partnerships are not considered legal in all countries and states. Before deciding to form one, you need to consult a family lawyer if it’s legal in your location or not.

These unions and partnerships are common in pairs who want their rights protected in a similar way like marriage rights. If you’ve followed this route, you must have a lawyer who will guide you through the process and make sure it’s legal.

 

Affordable Divorce Mediation Lawyer

Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.

 

Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #586
Houston, TX 77092
(713) 956-6767
https://therenkenlawfirm.com
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