San Antonio Child Custody Lawyer

What to Expect When You Work with One of Our San Antonio Child Custody Attorneys

Divorce causes significant emotional swings for all parties involved. But when the proceedings involve children and child custody hearings, the emotions ramp up even further.

In nearly all cases, both parents want what is best for their children. However, they may vehemently disagree on how to achieve this outcome. Our San Antonio child custody attorneys at the Amsberry Law Firm are ready to help you work successfully through all aspects of custody cases.

Trust Our Family Law Team with Your Case

We understand the challenges child custody cases and hearings involve. Our child custody lawyer team, led by Russell Amsberry, will give you the advice you need to help you through this challenging time. Through the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Russell Amsberry carries board certification in family law, which is a distinction that less than one percent of all family practitioners have been conferred due to rigorous screening by other practitioners and judges, as well as passage of an additional specialty exam. His experience level spans over 25 years, giving him the ability to represent our clients with the greatest level of care and attention to detail.

We Tailor Our Approach to Meet Your Needs

Contact our family law attorneys at (210) 354-2244 for a consultation today. Our San Antonio child custody lawyers will fight as hard as we can to help you win the judgment you deserve. We always keep the well-being of your children front and center throughout the process.

We understand that each child custody situation is unique. We tailor our strategy to match the nuances of each particular case. Our clients appreciate our willingness to go the extra mile, particularly when we handle difficult cases.

What Is Child Custody?

In the legal sense, custody determines the legal relationship of one or both parents with the children after a divorce or a similar situation. According to Texas state statutes, the state’s family law policy attempts to assure that children are able to have contact with both parents, as long as the parents are acting in the best interests of the children.

The state wants parents to share in the process of raising the children, even after a separation or divorce. However, if one parent committed domestic violence or other forms of abuse, the state recognizes the potential danger to the children. The court then may award sole custody to the other parent.

How Child Custody Works in Texas

According to the Texas Family Code, a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (or SAPCR) determines the custody, visitation, and child support payments for the children. When considering an SAPCR lawsuit, the court will make its decision based on the needs of the children mentioned in the SAPCR.

The SAPCR almost always is part of the divorce proceedings involving child custody. However, in cases where divorce is not occurring, an SAPCR can stand as its own legal proceeding.

Finding Answers About Child Custody

The opposing parties in child custody cases rarely agree on even the most basic items involved. Having an attorney who knows the law thoroughly and who knows how to gather the facts to give the court the information it needs is important. Our child custody lawyers in San Antonio, TX, has the capability to handle all kinds of custody cases, even situations involving significant complexities. We take pride in fighting hard for our clients, ensuring that they and their children’s best interests receive the full attention from the court that they deserve.

Questions Our Clients Ask

What is conservatorship in Texas?

Essentially, conservatorship is the legal term in Texas for child custody. For child custody cases in the state, conservatorship refers to the duties of one or both parents in making decisions for the children. These decisions may include schools attended, medical appointments and treatment decisions, and participation in extracurricular activities.

What is a possession order?

In Texas child custody law, possession is the legal term for visitation rights. This can seem confusing, because the word possession would seem to indicate a permanent situation, rather than referring to a visitation. The possession order will spell out the amount of time each parent can spend with the children.

How does custody work without a court order?

In the State of Texas, a child custody agreement that doesn’t include a court order is unenforceable from a legal standpoint. The two parents may agree to a certain set of rules regarding the care of the children on their own, without a court order. However, if one parent violates the agreement, the other parent has no legal recourse. Once a court order (a legal agreement regarding child custody) is in place, the courts can then enforce it.

What is a joint custody situation?

With joint custody, the two parents will share the process of making decisions in the best interests of the children. Texas law refers to the two parents as joint managing conservators. With joint custody, one parent may still have more visitation time with the children than the other parent. The children probably will live primarily with one parent in joint custody, rather than splitting living time equally. The idea of joint custody simply refers to the decision-making.

What is a sole custody situation?

Occasionally, the court will award sole custody to one parent, meaning this parent has the right to make decisions regarding the well-being of the children. (In Texas, the legal term for the parent with sole custody is “sole managing conservator.”) Some of the reasons the court may award sole custody include physical abuse, violence, drug abuse, or alcohol abuse from one of the parents. Under the circumstances, a court may not only make a finding of sole managing conservatorship but may also impose additional requirement such as supervised visitation and possession, submission to counseling, anger management, or random drug testing, as it may find in the best interest of the children.

Does the child have a say in custody?

According to state law, children do not have the right to make the final decisions about which parent they will live with or on any aspects of custody. However, the court will in some cases strongly weigh the wishes of the children for living arrangements once they reach age 12. Should a child report abuse from one of the parents, the court will take this into consideration in determining custody, too. Having a specialist who can develop questions to assist the judge in meeting with the child/children in chambers can be in some cases be determinative of the ultimate ruling. Our firm can assist in developing and shepherding the evidence to your best advantage.

Hiring a San Antonio Child Custody Lawyer

State law does not require people involved in a child custody hearing or lawsuit to hire legal counsel, according to Texas Law Help. However, there are significant benefits to hiring our firm as your child custody attorney in San Antonio, TX.

When representing you, our child custody attorneys fully understand how the courts operate in these matters. We will use the unique facts in your case to tailor our representation.

Call the Amsberry Law Firm as soon as possible at (210) 354-2244 to schedule a complimentary consultation. Once you choose to hire us, we will answer any questions that may pop up during the case and will keep you abreast of all developments as they happen. Count on our firm to go the distance for you!

How Child Custody and Child Support Work Together

Determining whether a child support payment will occur is another component of divorce proceedings. The court will look at the income of the two parents and at which parent is the primary caregiver for the children. It then uses the information to create a judgment for child support.

When it comes to determining child custody, the parent who ordinarily is conferred the right to establish the primary residence of the children is awarded child support. Although, the two issues are separate, they are closely entwined.

Even if both parents share joint custody, it is probable that one parent will receive child support from the other. When the children live primarily with one parent, for example, that parent typically will receive child support payments. The parent with whom the children live the most has the greatest level of expenses related to the children.

Additionally, child support payments will not affect visitation rights determined in a child custody case. Should one parent fall behind on child support payments, he or she still has the right to the court-determined visitation times. If something like this is occurring in your case, hire our team to ensure your rights remain in place.

What Factors Does the Court Consider in Child Custody Cases?

When trying to determine the outcome in a child custody situation, Texas courts always keep the well-being and best interest of the child in mind above all else. Some of the ways they will do this include:

  • Investigating actions that indicate one of the parents is unfit for joint custody
  • Investigating living conditions in the separate homes of the parents
  • Determining willingness of parents to accept assistance with parenting classes
  • Investigating any potential for physical danger to the child
  • Investigating any potential for emotional danger to the child
  • Determining the ability of one or both parents to meet any special needs for education or medical care that the child may have
  • Taking the wishes of the child into consideration, if he or she is at least 12 years old
  • Determining how each parent’s job situation and schedule may help or hinder caring for the child.

The court will weigh these types of factors in attempting to find the best situation for the child, whether that involves joint custody or sole custody.

What Are the Most Common Reasons to Hire One of Our San Antonio Child Custody Lawyers?

Although Texas state law does not require those involved in a divorce or child custody battle to retain an attorney, hiring one of our skilled San Antonio child custody attorneys will help your case tremendously. Six of the best reasons to hire our team are:

Diffusing the Emotions

Some people may believe bringing an attorney into the child custody case ramps up the seriousness of the case. Instead, having attorneys involved often reduces the emotional tension in the case.

Our child custody attorneys have no history in the marital relationship, while you and your spouse may have an emotional history that has gone on for years. When we represent you, we can start the negotiations fresh and can bring a new perspective to the situation. This gives everyone involved a better chance of having a successful settlement.

Even though we can help with ramping down the emotions in a child custody case, we still will work hard for your benefit. Keeping the emotions in check will not affect our ability to fight to help you and your children receive the best potential outcome. We do not back down when the other party is trying to introduce false or fabricated evidence into the case.

Your Spouse Hired an Attorney

When your spouse has an attorney, you will want to hire our San Antonio child custody attorneys to even the playing field.

You hopefully only have to go through a separation or divorce once in your life. This means you will not have the experience in cases like this that our child custody attorneys have. Our firm has handled over two thousand family law cases.

Your spouse’s attorney will have a greater knowledge of child custody laws than you can have on your own. This may leave you at a disadvantage that could result in an unfavorable result. Our divorce attorneys can help with many items, such as collecting documentation to help the court determine the proper child support payments.

Your Spouse Changed Your Verbal Agreement

You and your spouse may have an unofficial agreement in place regarding custody immediately after the separation or divorce. You may be happy with this agreement.

However, if your spouse decides to suddenly change the agreement or to deny you visitation, hiring our team to help is a good idea. You deserve fair treatment in your child custody case. We can help you find the facts to present to the court to lead to a fair agreement.

Even if your spouse doesn’t explicitly talk about changing the agreement, your spouse’s actions may negate the agreement. For example, if your spouse creates last-minute excuses to avoid bringing the kids to you or begins interfering with your visitation time, this is a sign that you may need an attorney.

Your Spouse Is Making Major Decisions Without You

If you and your spouse agreed to joint custody of the children, you both should agree on any major decisions regarding the kids. However, if you find that your spouse is making medical decisions or is enrolling the kids in a new school without consulting you, this may not be following the rights and duties already court ordered on your behalf.

In a case like this, you may need a court order that sets out what joint custody means. Our team can help you take the steps toward customizing this court order to your best advantage. And should your spouse attempt to argue that you should not have joint custody, we can present facts to the court to help you obtain a ruling and order you deserve.

You May Have Personal Issues That Place You at a Disadvantage

Texas courts attempt to give both parents joint custody in as many child custody cases as possible. However, when one spouse has committed crimes or has personal problems that could affect the well-being of the kids, the court will consider sole custody.

Should you have any of the following types of issues, the court may determine that the children are in danger with you, resulting in a sole custody judgment for your spouse:

  • Past issues resulting in court-ordered parenting classes
  • Past issues resulting in court-ordered drug and alcohol treatment
  • Past issues resulting in court-ordered anger-management classes
  • Accusations of spousal abuse
  • Accusations of child abuse
  • Arrests for assault, abuse, DUI, drug possession, or other similar crimes.

If you are facing these types of situations, winning a favorable judgment in your child custody case will be challenging. We will work with the court to show why some of the accusations are not true or how you changed your life after undergoing treatment/counseling. Our team has experience in developing a narrative to showcase reasons why the former concerns are no longer applicable and where step-up provisions can be drawn up to bring you back to equal footing with the other parent, as a joint managing conservator. We will fight hard to show why you deserve joint custody.

You Believe Your Children Are in Danger Because of Your Spouse’s Living Arrangements

The living conditions for you and your spouse may change quickly after a divorce. The initial court order regarding child custody after the divorce will reflect the original living conditions. This initial ruling may have awarded joint custody to both of you or sole custody to your spouse (even if you wanted joint custody).

However, if your spouse suddenly moves in with a partner who could be abusive, takes a job with odd working hours, or begins using drugs or alcohol regularly, the children could be in danger. You may want to go back to the court to ask for a reconsideration of the child custody judgment.

By hiring our team to represent you in this case, we can present the new facts to the court. Without the evidence we collect and the arguments we make on your behalf, you may find the court will not take your accusations as seriously when you represent yourself.

Of course, if you believe the danger to the children’s well-being is imminent, you should call emergency services and law enforcement. We will deal with the legal ramifications for your child custody situation later.

Call the Amsberry Law Firm for a Case Review

For a consultation regarding your child custody case, call the Amsberry Law Firm at (210) 354-2244 today. We will be ready to begin working on your behalf as soon as you hire us. Our child custody attorneys in San Antonio, TX, take pride in helping children and families receive the best possible outcome in a case like this.

We never cut corners when representing our clients and advancing their interest. You can count on us to roll up our sleeves and put in the time and effort required to deliver the best possible results, as we have done for nearly three decades.

Attorney Russell Amsberry

Attorney Russell J.G. Amsberry

Attorney Russell J.G. Amsberry founded the Amsberry Law Firm in 1995 with the goal of providing clients with exceptional, focused representation on their issues. His success as a legal advocate has been reflected in the numerous professional honors he has received, such as speaking engagements and inclusion in Scene in SA magazine’s listing of the best lawyers in San Antonio, a Distinguished rating from Martindale-Hubble, and an amazing rating from Avvo. [ Attorney Bio ]