Arriving at the decision to hire a child custody lawyer is not easy by any means; however, it is in the best interest of not only the child but the parent as well. A child custody lawyer is an attorney with a practice focus in family law who advocates for clients throughout the custody process. Given that family varies state to state and Texas has its own Family Code – including child custody standards – it’s recommended that Texas parents seek counsel from knowledgeable and experienced family law attorneys like those at Terry & Roberts.
Many parents have preconceived notions of how the child custody process works, including the cost and how long it will take. As each parent-child relationship is unique, there is no definitive timeframe when it comes to resolving family law matters. During a time when parents are anxious and want answers as soon as possible, arranging a meeting with a child custody lawyer is a responsible first step. A meeting will allow an experienced custody attorney to assess your situation and answer important questions so you can feel confident and secure in your decision.
During the course of Texas child custody proceedings, your attorney will establish an open line of communication with you so you can express your wishes and concerns, as well as seek legal advice relating to your child or children, your relationship with a co-parent, or your case in general.
Meeting with an attorney to discuss custody for the first time can be daunting. A parent can help ease the stress of an initial consultation by collecting needed documents and writing out any questions you have for the attorney. This will allow the attorney to assess the case and formulate a plan to satisfy the needs of both parent and child. The following items should be considered and addressed prior to speaking to or meeting with a family law attorney regarding child custody issues.
Questions and Concerns
An initial consultation with a custody lawyer is an important time to ask any questions you have concerning the process. Write down your questions and concerns so they can be addressed up front, better preparing you for what to expect and what will be required of you throughout. Early stage legal questions can include how to interact with the co-parent during the case, how much child support should be expected, the length of custody proceedings, and anything else related to custody of the child and the legal process itself.
Depending on the case, an attorney may request you bring specific documents in for their review that will ultimately be needed in court. Parents can expedite this process by bringing in financial and/or medical documents that will determine custody issues such as child support and education costs. Once again, this allows your attorney to develop a clear and comprehensive picture of the case from the beginning.
All parties should collect any “evidence” relating to the case and bring it to any initial meetings so the attorneys you meet with are aware of crucial information – such as restraining orders, police records, communication records, social media records, photos, and any other documentation that is relevant to your child custody case.
Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship
Unless two parents are going through a divorce, Texas requires the filing of a Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) form in court. This form is required in cases where a judge is being requested to issue orders regarding child custody, child support, child visitation, and medical decisions regarding a child. A family law attorney will file the SAPCR, then the co-parent will be notified of the filing and given the opportunity to respond.
In addition to ensuring all necessary documents are filed correctly and on time, a child custody lawyer examines the evidence to establish a plan regarding child support, visitation, medical treatment, education, and any other issues of concern.
Texas Child Custody Attorneys
Pursuing child custody is a highly stressful and emotional period for a parent. Child custody cases can easily turn contentious, which can place unnecessary stress on both child and parent. As a devoted parent, you need a Texas child custody lawyer who can help you obtain the best outcome to ensure that your child or children are raised in a stable and loving environment. Experience is often the deciding factor when a client hires an attorney to represent him or her. With Terry & Roberts, you have lawyers with over 80 years of combined experience successfully handling Texas family law matters both in and out of the courtroom. Contact us today to get started on your case consultation.