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When Is It Right to Take Your Custody Case to Court?


Child custody is often one of the most contentious issues that come up during the divorce process. Typically, emotions are high and both parents want time with their children. Even after a child custody arrangement is in place, some parents may want to make changes when they feel the situation is not working for them or their kids.

In Texas, parents who cannot decide together on a child custody arrangement must get a court order that determines who has “conservatorship,” which is what the state calls custody. In the best-case scenario, Texas law awards both parents as joint managing conservators. However, there are times when one parent may want to dispute that assignment in court.

History of Domestic Violence

A parent should take his or her child custody case to court if there is a history of domestic violence by the other parent against him or her or the child. In these cases, the court almost always awards sole managing conservatorship to the parent who did not commit domestic violence offenses.

Alcohol or Drug Use

Another situation that warrants a trip to the court is alcohol or drug use by the other parent. Since this behavior is not in the best interest of a child, a judge will likely award custody to the parent who does not have a drug or alcohol problem.

Absence From the Child’s Life

A child custody arrangement may also require a court order when one parent is absent from the child’s life. The parent with whom the child already lives may get sole custody in these cases.

Determining child custody requires looking at a lot of factors, but the three mentioned above are common reasons why divorcing parents may end up in court to determine custody orders.