San Antonio Child Custody Lawyers
San Antonio Child Custody Lawyers
Protecting Your Child Custody Rights in San Antonio
Child custody is one of the most difficult issues parents face during divorce or separation. San Antonio child custody lawyers at Soyars & Morgan Law are dedicated to protecting your rights to raise your child in a healthy, thriving environment. We represent parents in San Antonio in all aspects of child custody and visitation, including:
- Primary and joint custody arrangements
- Visitation rights
- Grandparent visitation
- Modification of custody and visitation orders
- Enforcement of orders
- Juvenile delinquency and dependency proceedings
- Decisions related to religion, education, and upbringing of the child
Negotiating Child Custody Disputes in San Antonio
Children are best served when parents maintain a cordial relationship. Children benefit when parents can set aside hostility and agree on key decisions affecting their children. Mediation can be a highly-effective tool for parents to preserve their children’s well-being and stability during the turbulent process of divorce. Mediation allows each parent to negotiate how the issues are resolved and to develop a joint plan that benefits the family unit. Mediated settlement agreements take some of the stress out of child custody conflicts and puts important child-rearing decisions in the hands of the parents rather than the court. Our San Antonio child custody lawyers implement legal strategies that carefully guide the negotiating process toward healthy resolution.
San Antonio Child Custody Litigator
In some cases, litigation is necessary to protect a child’s best interests. When one parent refuses to compromise or expresses hostility toward the other parent, negotiations fail. Sometimes a parent may even pose a danger to the child’s well-being. In these cases, litigation is the most appropriate forum for establishing parental rights. Our award-winning San Antonio child custody lawyers’ approach to litigation enables you to feel confident that your children are protected and your parental rights are secure.
San Antonio Child Custody Lawyers: Important Factors Taken Into Account for Child Custody
- The preferences of the child (normally only if over age 13 and mature)
- The wishes of the parents
- The mental and physical health of all parties involved
- How the child adjusts to his/her environment in school, home, or the community
- History of violence by either of the parents
- The relationship between the child and each parent
- The home environment each parent can provide for the child
- The recommendation by an expert witness
By no means is this a complete list or the order of most important, but this is a list of special considerations that are taken into account. Family law judges will weigh each of these factors, along with others, to determine what they believe is in the child’s best interest. Remember, this is not necessarily what either parents wants; it is what the judge believes is the best outcome for the child to have the best possible upbringing. Only an experienced San Antonio child custody lawyer can advise you as to what your personal situation means when applying these factors to your case.
San Antonio Child Custody Lawyers: FAQ’s
What is Joint Custody vs. Sole Custody?
An experienced San Antonio child custody lawyer will explain the details of exactly what the difference is between joint custody and sole custody – but here is a basic primer. In most cases, joint custody is based on the courts belief that encouraging parents to work together for the best interests of the child is of utmost importance in developing a healthy relationship with both parents and the child, whereas an award of sole custody to one parent is because the court does not believe the parties can cooperate well enough to work together for the child.
Joint custody means that both parents share the responsibilities of the children and should work together to approve any major decisions related to the children’s lives. For this reason, most courts encourage joint custody. Whereby one parent is still the custodial parent (where the child lives most of the time, sometimes called the “residential parent”) and the other parent is the noncustodial parent (the parent with whom the child has visitation with on a regular basis). The reason is straightforward and simple – having both parents in a child’s life is important for dozens of reasons to help a child grow up with positive influences from both parents. Judges look specifically for how to parents interact with each other in making a joint custody decision.
Sole custody of a child, which is granted in some situations, is where the primary care giver (custodial parent) does not need to work with the other parent to develop plans of how the child should be raised or to make big decisions or little decisions. However, an award of sole custody to the other parent does not mean that a noncustodial parent will be in the dark about their child. Both parents are normally still granted equal rights to school functions and information, medical information, and the ability and right to spend quality parenting time (also called “visitation) with their child. Sole custody does not mean your rights have been taken away – it normally just means that you and the other parent cannot work together to co-parent.
What is in a Courts Final Child Custody Decision?
Normally, if the parties have not been able to reach an agreement on child custody through mediation or other means, the judge has no choice but to have the parents present for a formal hearing or child custody trial. At trial, it is typical for hours of questions to be asked of each parent so that the court can get a better understanding and see both sides to each parent. Home study reports may be made a part of the record of evidence. Witnesses such as relatives, neighbors, teachers, and coaches may all testify on behalf of either parent. In the end, a judge makes the final decision on where the child will live and which parent will have visitation and how frequently. Typically, when cases are contested enough to go all the way to trial, a judge will order one parent to have sole custody and the other to have frequent and regular visitation.
A typical visitation schedule would be something like this:
- “Every other weekend from Friday at 5:00pm until Sunday at 5:00pm; plus every Wednesday night from after school until 8:00pm. Alternating holidays where one parent gets even years, and the other gets odd years, alternating school breaks, and an even splitting of summer vacation.”
Get Started Fighting for Your Rights Today with our San Antonio Child Custody Lawyers
Hiring an expert child custody lawyer that will fight for you on issues of sole custody, joint custody, or a child custody modification is essential to protecting your rights and ensuring that your family is cared for in the way that they deserve. Contact our San Antonio child custody lawyers now by filling out our contact firm and get started with your free initial consultation. Don’t hesitate – your children are depending on you to fight for them! Get the child custody help you deserve!