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 The Basics of Child Custody

Family Lawyer Arlington, TX

Child custody, child support or visitation cases are known as Suit Affecting the ParentChild Relationship, colloquially referred to as SAPCR (pronounced “sap sir”). These cases typically result from divorces where children are involved, but child custody cases can also result from abuse, parental alienation, neglect, etc.

According to an experienced Arlington, TX family lawyer from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC., child custody can take a multiple of forms. The first type of custody is legal custody. This is defined as the right of the parent to make daytoday decisions regarding their child. This includes, but is not limited to, medical decisions, education, and residence. Legal custody can be granted to either one parent, known as sole custody, or both parents, known as joint custody. Joint legal custody would mean that both parents maintain legal rights over their child. In Texas, this role is known as “joint managing conservator.” Texas asserts that allowing both parents to have joint legal custody has been shown to be in the best interest of the child. Of course, this isn’t always the case.

Sole custody can be granted if any circumstances that could harm the child in any way is present. In most Texas cases, one parent is named the primary managing conservator or custodial parent. This parent decides where the child will live, and receives child support from the other parent. The other parent is known as the noncustodial parent, and has rights to spend time with the child which is written out in court orders. The noncustodial parent also pays child support to the custodial parent.

The second type of custody is physical custody, which deals with who the child lives with, essentially the actual physical possession of the child. Physical custody, like legal custody, can either be sole or joint. If a child sees both parents equally this is known as joint, shared, or 50/50 physical custody. In the case of sole physical custody, the noncustodial parent is given visitation rights. Visitation is scheduled times to see the child, decided upon by the visitation schedule which specifies the date, time, and location of the visit. Visitation can also be supervised if the judge determines that it would be in the best interest of the child in that specific case.

In both forms, joint or sole, of legal and physical custody the ultimate goal is to provide the best life for the child. Every decision is made with the best interest of the child in mind.