Choosing an Austin, Texas Visitation and Child Custody Attorney
Disputes over visitation or custody (access and possession) can be decided during an Austin divorce case, or as a separate cause of action, with the guidance of an Austin, Texas child custody attorney. At times, these matters will arise after the court has already established an order that one or both parties is unsatisfied with. It this is the case, a modification to modify the courts order can be filed. Austin, Texas child custody and visitation issues can be disconcerting and confusing for parents, and the repercussions of protracted legal experiences can be hard on the children whose best interests are at stake. The more time they are able to visit with one parent, then the less time they are able to spend with their other parent. They also have to adapt to not having all of their things in one home, not having their friends nearby, and a range of issues that they may struggle with.
If you are going through a custody dispute in Williamsons County or elsewhere in Central Texas, it is imperative that you hire a skilled child custody attorney to protect both your interests, and the interests of your child. James W. Evans law office understands what a trying time this can be, and Mr. Evans will work diligently to ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible, so that your child doesn’t get hurt. Causing your child stress is the last thing we want to do.
Board Certified Texas Family Law Attorney
James W. Evans has been a Texas lawyer for more than 17 years. After he became a father seven years ago, he decided to focus his practice in the area of family law. James W. Evans of the Evans Family Law Group is board certified in family law in the state of Texas. He is married to a wonderful woman that was a former school principal for elementary school aged children, and he has two children of his own. As a father, he understands just how emotional child custody disputes and visitation can be. He also has a great deal of experience in working with cases that involve children who have special needs (emotional, medical, mental health related, educational, or otherwise).
Child Custody Areas of Practice
If you or someone close to you is considering or fighting their way through a child custody battle, our Austin, Texas attorneys at the Evans Family Law Group can help. Williamson County child custody attorney, James W. Evans, offers legal representation for child custody issues that include but may not be limited to the following:
- Access and Possession or Visitation Disputes
- Custody Disputes
- Modification of Visitation or Prior Custody Orders
- Modification and Establishment of Parenting Plans
- Paternity Disputes
- Child Relocations
- Special Needs Planning and Education Planning
- Grandparent Rights
- Child Support
- Restraining and Protective Orders to Keep Children Protected
- Enforcement of Child Custody, Child Support, and Child Visitation
Every child custody case is different, and the way things play out will depend largely on the specific circumstances of the family members who are involved. Significant things that should be heavily considered include the following:
a) Who has been the child’s primary caretaker?
b) What are the parents living arrangements?
c) How far is the distance between where the parents live?
d) What kind of support network is available to help meet the child or children’s needs?
e) What are the parents working arrangements in regards to time and travel requirements?
f) What circumstances allow or prevent each parent from meeting the needs of the children?
g) Is instability present, to where the children have to change schools often?
h) Do the parents have criminal histories?
i) Do the parents have sexual abuse, mental abuse, physical abuse, or domestic violence histories?
j) What are the circumstances and ages of the children that are involved?
k) What parenting abilities do the parents have?
l) Does one parent wish to relocate and pull the child away from their other parent?
m) Does anyone in either household have a criminal history?
n) Is anyone in either home a registered sex offender?
o) What is the ability of the parents to communicate and cooperatively parent together?
Our Williamson County child custody attorney, James W. Evans, completely understands that these issues can be significant, and that time is of the essence in resolving them for the best interests of the child. Our attorneys have children of their own, so they are fully aware of what an emotional crisis child custody disputes can be.
Our lawyers are highly experienced in evaluating and assessing custody situations, access and possession matters, and visitation issues. There is a lot riding on the outcome of your case, when children are affected. Our goal is to get things right immediately, so that a plan of action can be put into place that will be in the best interests of your child over the long and short term course of things. The Austin, Texas child custody lawyers at James W. Evans Law Office have more than 17 years of family law experience in the area of child custody, and they can use their professional expertise to give guidance throughout the process, so that you are fully aware of what the various options are in regards to your specific situation.
Our Skilled Attorneys Offer Creative Solutions
Do you believe Courts know what is in the best interests of your child? The Austin, Texas child custody attorneys at the Evans Family Law Group believe that parents are the ones who should make the determination as to what is in the best interests of their child. The written family code encourages and authorizes parents to reach an agreement on these matters. Many parents get caught up in the “standard” rules when they are going through a child custody situation. However, the “standard” may not be what is in their child’s best interests. What if your spouse is a policeman, firefighter, airline pilot, or someone else who works outside of the scope of what normal hours would be considered? It is essential to be creative in these types of situations, so that the child comes out on top in having their needs met. Each case will be very different. How child custody matters are handled for a 5 year old child will be far different from how they are handled with a newborn in most cases. Teenagers and children with special needs will be handled even differently. Visit our children with special needs page for further information. Some custody cases will involve criminal histories, drug addictions, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse, or even mental health abuse. As sad as it is, it is a reality. The ultimate goal is to protect the children that are involved at all costs. These types of cases demand aggressive, compassionate, and experienced attorneys that have in-depth knowledge of how to deal with them effectively. Attorney James W. Evans has more than 5 years of experience working at the criminal district attorney’s office, where he prosecuted crimes that involved sexual and physical abuse towards children, domestic violence, and other crimes involving children. He has first-hand knowledge of just how bad these issues can be.
Considerations When Getting Visitation & Maximum Parenting Rights
The Texas Legislature passed new legislation in 1995 that was designed to protect the family unit in a way. The law stipulated that parents who have demonstrated the ability to act in a manner that is in the best interests of their child will have the right to have continual and frequent contact with their child, among other things that encouraged activity that would be beneficial to children of divorced parents. With this in mind, the following are essential principles that parents should incorporate into their daily lives, to get maximum visitation and parenting rights with their children.
1. You can get more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. If you value your rights to be equally involved in decisions that are made regarding your children, then you need to be courteous and avoid conflict if you possibly can. Conflict will wipe out equality quickly once the court learns what is going on. In this instance, the court will take over, and the judge will decide who should make the bulk of the decisions regarding your child. Do you really want a judge that doesn’t personally know your family making these decisions? There is no defined winner in this situation, so try to stay peaceful.
2. Don’t be spiteful by calling child protective services and the police. It is not a race to see who can rack up the most phone calls to child protective services and the police. Some parents really abuse the system by repeatedly calling these agencies just to best the other parent, and all this does is hurt the child. It doesn’t look good on the parent that is calling either, because the police and CPS will not get involved with your custody dispute unless abuse has occurred in one form or another. Filing false reports can reflect poorly on a parent that reports false abuse allegations. They judge will not look at this behavior kindly. If CPS did remove the child, then you will only make matters worse for yourself and your child, because you will have to fight the state as well as your spouse. This will just prolong the process, hurt your child, increase the costs, and force you into lengthy litigation that you would be better off without. Only call if the situation is genuine!
3. Taking the high road is the better choice. Custody disputes can be really frustrating when you are dealing with a spouse that is manipulative, obsessive, and controlling. Don’t stoop to their level! People who take the high road are the smart ones, and they will usually prevail over the long term course of things. Conflict can kill the opportunity to be as equally involved with your child as what your spouse is. Having expanded time with your children is the best possible outcome you could wish for, so don’t destroy this opportunity by getting involved with conflict.
4. Be Involved! Staying involved with everything that relates to your child is crucial! Do they take prescription medication? What is their teacher’s name? What is their pediatrician’s name? Who are their friends? Who is their coach? You need to be aware of what is going on with your child at all times. Go to their parent teacher conferences at school, contact their physicians, articulate the concerns that you have, and above all else, always stay involved in their life right down to the smallest details.
5. Think Permanency! Courts want to implement a parenting plan that won’t produce disruption or negatively change the lives of the children that are involved. This means that the parents must do everything they possibly can to keep the same school, child care, pediatrician, tutors, and residence in most cases. Your life and the life of your spouse will need to accommodate the needs of the children. Just because you are divorcing your spouse, it doesn’t mean that your children are. The more accessible you are to your children, the better of you will be. Putting yourself in a position to be involved and accessible is the best thing you can do for them. Child support will need to be established as well, to care for the child’s long term needs. See our child support page for further information regarding support.
The “Best Interests” Standard
When implementing any of the above principles, the “best interests” standard will always supersede. All judges will use the “best interests” standard in your case when they are deciding things where the children are concerned. Although there is no clearly defined definition of what best interests really is, there are guiding principles that judges will go by. The Texas Supreme Court created the guiding principles, also known as “Holley” factors in Holley v. Adams, 544 S.W.2d 367 (Tex. 1976). There are many factors that the court may use when they are making a determination on what is in the best interests of your children. Some of these factors include the following:
- Which parent is able to better provide for the current and future needs of the child in regards to emotional needs, development, psychological needs and physical needs?
- Does one parent or the other pose an emotional danger to the child in the future or present?
- What are each parents plans for the child’s future in regards to physical needs, family and social support, living arrangements, and education. Permanency is what the court is looking at here.
- Does each parent possess the ability to collaborate in order to make decisions that are best for their child?
- To what extent does each parent accept and encourage a good relationship with the child’s other parent?
- Has either parent made false allegations of child abuse?
- Are the parents considered fit to raise a child?
Contact Our Office Today
For an experienced Austin, Texas attorney that can help with your child custody situation, contact the James W. Evans law office. Attorney Evans understands the turmoil that you are going through, and he has the experience to ensure that your child is protected. Put our experience to work for you by calling us today at (512) 628-2550 to discuss your case. You can also reach Mr. Evans by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.