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Child Custody

Texas state law refers to child custody as “conservatorship.” Similar to sole or joint custody, Texas also has sole or joint conservatorships.

The managing conservator is more commonly referred to as the custodial parent, and the possessory conservator is the noncustodial parent. Texas Family Code § 153.002 states, “[t]he best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.”

Lawyer for Child Custody in Houston, TX

Do you need help with an issue relating to the custody of your child or children in Southeast Texas? You will want to make sure that you retain legal counsel before any court appearance. Contact Sydow Law Firm as soon as possible.

Michael Sydow is an experienced divorce attorney in Houston who represents clients in Harris County and Fort Bend County.

Call (713) 622-9700 right now to have our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, no-obligation consultation.


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Overview of Child Custody in Harris County


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Texas Child Custody Laws

Under Texas Family Code § 156.101(a), the court can modify an order that provides for the appointment of a conservator of a child, that provides the terms and conditions of conservatorship, or that provides for the possession of or access to a child if the modification would be in the best interest of the child and:

  • the circumstances of the child, a conservator, or other party affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the earlier of the date of the rendition of the order or the date of the signing of a mediated or collaborative law settlement agreement on which the order is based;
  • the child is at least 12 years of age and has expressed to the court in chambers as provided by Section 153.009 the name of the person who is the child’s preference to have the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child; or
  • the conservator who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child has voluntarily relinquished the primary care and possession of the child to another person for at least six months.

Texas Family Code § 156.102 establishes that when a suit seeking to modify the designation of the person having the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of a child is filed within one year of the rendition of the order or the date of the signing of a mediated or collaborative law settlement agreement on which the order is based, the person filing the suit shall execute and must attach an affidavit that contains—along with supporting facts—at least one of the following allegations:

  • that the child’s present environment may endanger the child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development;
  • that the person who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child is the person seeking or consenting to the modification and the modification is in the best interest of the child; or
  • that the person who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child has voluntarily relinquished the primary care and possession of the child for at least six months and the modification is in the best interest of the child.

Texas Family Code § 156.101(a)(3) and Texas Family Code § 156.102(b)(3) do not apply to a conservator who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child and who has temporarily relinquished the primary care and possession of the child to another person during the conservator’s military deployment, military mobilization, or temporary military duty.

A conservator who is convicted of child abuse or a crime of family violence is considered a material and substantial change of circumstances sufficient to justify a temporary order and modification of an existing court order or portion of a decree that provides for the appointment of a conservator or that sets the terms and conditions of conservatorship or for the possession of or access to a child.

Texas Family Code § 156.104 and Texas Family Code § 156.1045 both make it a Class B misdemeanor for a person to file a suit to modify an order or portion of a decree based on a conviction for child abuse or family violence when the person knows that the individual against whom the motion is filed has not been convicted of an offense, or received deferred adjudication for an offense.

Texas Family Code § 156.105 also states that the military duty of a conservator who is ordered to military deployment, military mobilization, or temporary military duty does not by itself constitute a material and substantial change of circumstances sufficient to justify a modification of an existing court order or portion of a decree that sets the terms and conditions for the possession of or access to a child. The court may, however, render a temporary order.


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Types of Child Custody Cases in Harris County

Sydow Law Firm handles many different kinds of child custody cases. We understand that custody of children can be one of the most contentious areas of any divorce, and we work to achieve results that help clients accomplish all of their immediate and long-term goals.

Some of the most common kinds of child custody cases we regularly see include, but are not limited to:

  • Parenting Plan
  • Sole Custody
  • Shared Custody
  • Interstate Custody Issues
  • Modifications
  • Non-parental third-party custody
  • Child Visitation
  • Guardianship
  • Terminating Parental Rights

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Texas Child Custody Resources
Texas Family Law Court | Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) — The TYLA is a department of the State Bar of Texas, and all licensed Texas lawyers 36 years old or younger or individuals of any age who are in their first five years of practice are automatically members of TYLA. View the full text of a TYLA booklet providing a helpful overview of what to expect in a Texas Family Law Court. The booklet discusses the many different scenarios under which a person might file for child custody.


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Find a Child Custody Attorney in Houston, TX

If you are involved in a child custody dispute in Southeast Texas, it is in your best interest to quickly seek legal representation. Sydow Law Firm helps individuals in Houston and many surrounding areas of Fort Bend County and Harris County.

Houston divorce lawyer Michael Sydow is an experienced civil trial lawyer and is a member of both the Houston Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association.

He can review your case and discuss all of your legal options when you call (713) 622-9700 or fill out an online contact form to set up a free initial consultation.


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Sydow Law Firm