How is Child Custody Determined in Texas?

Child Custody Laws differ from state to state. But if you are getting divorced or separated in Texas there are guidelines and laws that you need to be aware of. 


Because custody laws are the number one factor a parent faces in a divorce or separation. 

These custody laws have all the procedures laid out for separating parents and their children. The judge must follow these guidelines to assist in determining the custody of the children during and after a divorce. 

Let’s look further into how the state of Texas determines custody. 

How does Child Custody Work in Texas?

In Texas, there are two different forms of custody, or conservatorship privileges made available to mothers and fathers.

A controlling conservatorship (sole managing conservator) enables a parent or guardian to make legal selections with regards to the child or children, including which school or place of worship to attend, along with the capability to make economic and medical choices for your little one.

A possessory conservatorship (visitation) offers a mom or dad the authority to enter and visit the child, however, not necessarily the influence to make lawful choices for the little one on there own.

Here is a list showing of considerations the court considers when making considerations about custody: 

  • The child’s wants
  • The current and future psychological and bodily requirements of the child.
  • Any recent or potential psychological and actual physical risk to the child.
  • The capabilities for raising the child by each the father or mother
  • The programs around to assist each mother or father to promote the most effective benefits of your child.
  • The life plans for that child by each mother or father.
  • The steadiness of your suggested home.
  • Any acts or omissions from the parent that could suggest parental unfitness, and then any answers for this kind of works or omissions.

What Are The Grounds For Full Custody?

Within a separation and divorce, custody decisions are produced depending on what is within the needs and best interests of the child. Most courts and many state laws and regulations favor joint custody after having a divorce or separation.

You need a compelling argument if you are requesting sole custody.

Two Kinds of Sole Custody

If your goal is to get sole custody of your child, it’s necessary to understand the two kinds of sole custody available to you. 

The first type of custody is called sole physical custody. With sole physical custody, your child will live with you. This makes you responsible for their daily care. In many cases, the other parent has visitation rights.

The second is sole legal custody. When granted with sole legal custody, you make every decision regarding your child.

Sole Custody normally means you will have both legal and physical custody of the child. Though it can be possible to have sole physical custody and share legal custody. For example, the child lives with you. However, both you and your ex-spouse work together on how to raise the child. 

When Is Sole Custody An Option?

You may seek sole custody if your spouse cannot be an effective parent. The court can award sole custody for several reasons, here are a few

  • Alcohol or drug consumption abuse
  • Stability of the home
  • Mental health issues
  • Physical neglect or abuse
  • Income issues

You or your attorney will show you your reasons behind getting sole custody in a letter to the court known as a petition. A petition asks the court to make a legal decision for you. You will need to prove your reasons to the court. Your spouse is notified of your petition and can create there own petition to disagree with your reasons.

What is Considered An Unfit Parent in Texas?

When getting a divorce in Texas, being aware of what an unfit parent is very important. It typically implies that the mother or father in question does not look after the child’s welfare, or even take them into account in their decisions, or the actions they take.

By Texas law specifically, an unfit mother or father is considered anyone that could potentially have a considerable and undesirable influence on a child’s emotional progression or health.

Illustrations of this kind of behavior might get a mother or father branded unfit. This includes neglect, abandonment, as well as active mistreatment (abuse).

Additionally, it may involve the parent having a drug or alcohol dependency or exhibiting no interest in maintaining accountability for the proper care of the child involved, either through their words or behavior.

Can a Child In Texas Decide Which Parent to Live With?

The simple answer is yes. In Texas, children who are a minimum of 12 years of age can have a say in where they should live, nevertheless, a judge does not have to adhere to the child’s wants. 

It is absolutely improper to assume or inform a child that they get to choose where he or she will stay when they turn 12 years old. 

Once your child turns 18 and is a legal adult, then the custody order does not apply and they can decide where to reside. 

Where Can You Get Help and Who do You Call?

Going through a difficult divorce can be tough, but when a custody battle with children is involved it can add an almost unbearable pressure to carry. 

Illaraza Law is an experienced group of Attorneys that can manage your case with compassion and help you protect your rights to raise your child. 

They can help with primary or joint custody arrangements, visitation rights, enforcement of orders, and many more complex legal custody issues you should not handle alone. 

You can contact this full-service family law firm at (214) 646-3253. Illaraza Law services the Denton, Dallas, Collin, and Tarrant Counties. 


In this article we discussed custody laws in Texas, we learned what grounds for full custody is, how custody is determined in Texas, and what an unfit parent in texas can be considered. 

These topics are not pleasant but are necessary to venture into. Because knowing who you can trust, is vital when serious matters like this present themselves. 

Illaraza Law listens and helps you through the legal process when it involves child custody. If you are experiencing stress about this issue or any other family matters that require legal representation call Illaraza Law today at (214) 646-3253.  

Contact Us

We will respond to your inquiry in a timely fashion. Thank you.

Contact Us Home