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How is child custody handled in Texas?

Getting a divorce usually means splitting things up. Debt can be split, assets can be split, but how do you share a child? How does custody get divided? The state of Texas has a Family Code that regulates child custody extensively.

When you file for divorce, you must file the petition in court. If there are children under 18 that have been born to both of you or adopted during your marriage, you need to make sure that your representative, or your attorney, notifies the judge of your desire to retain custody of the child involved. If you feel that the child's best interests would be to stay with your spouse, then you need to articulate this clearly to the court.

If you happen to have a suit that is going to effect the relationship you have with your child when you file for divorce, this information is important to note before the court. They can take jurisdiction of the case and decide what is best for the specific situation instead of having two judges involved.

You need to ensure that you provide documentation that proves the case is before another court of law in Texas so that the judge can have jurisdiction over the custody arrangements.

After the transfer of jurisdiction occurs, the court can hear from you and your spouse. The judge may even want to hear from the child, if that child is 12 years old or more. His or her opinion can actually sway the court with respect to custody.

Too often, it happens that your interests aren't noted. Having a legal professional who takes the time to know what it is you want to accomplish and knows the laws of the state of Texas can be a valuable asset at this time.

Source: Texas Family Code, "The Marriage Relationship" accessed Mar. 24, 2015

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