You and your partner get into a loud, heated argument. Tempers flare, things are thrown, and harsh words are shouted. Essentially, things get out of hand. All of a sudden, the cops are at your doorstep and you are taken away to the police station and charged with domestic violence.
How did things reach that point? It was just a normal relationship fight… until suddenly it wasn’t. What’s going to happen to you? To your family? To your relationship with your kids? Will you even be allowed to have a relationship with your kids?
Here’s the truth: from restricted visitation to complete loss of parental rights, Texas domestic violence charges can absolutely impact your ability to be in your children’s lives. Moreover, if you and your children’s other parent get into a battle over custody, charges like these can’t help but influence the outcome.
That’s the bad news – but it doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Let’s look at how Texas handles child custody rights.
Understanding Child Custody Rights in Texas
Child custody in Texas is divided into two sections: possession and conservatorship. Possession refers to which parent the child will live with and the visitation rights of the other parent. Conservatorship covers the decisions made for the minor pertaining to education, religious beliefs, medical care, and so on.
A judge will decide upon the custody situation that best serves the interests of your child. How exactly? There are a number of factors involved, such as how involved in the child’s daily life each parent was.
You can bet that any convictions, charges, or even accusations of abuse will play a large role, though. The judge will look into any evidence of previous possible harm or abuse to the minor, as well as any general history of abuse by the parents.
Once the custody and visitation directive is ordered, it can’t be adjusted unless both parents agree to change it or if there is a major change in circumstances for either parent.
How Could a Texas Domestic Violence Charge Impact How You See Your Kid Specifically?
First and foremost, a parent’s history of domestic violence will almost certainly reduce their chances of having sole custody of their child. However, the parent charged with abuse will generally retain some custody rights and access as long as the court sees that:
- The visitation order is structured to protect the child
- The visitation with the minor would be in the child’s best interest
- The parent completes some kind of court-ordered treatment
- The child’s emotional and physical welfare won’t be affected negatively by the parent charged with abuse
One of the most common ways that accused parents are able to keep seeing their children is through the implementation of supervised visits. These are visits where the parent and the child are accompanied by a designated adult who must be present for the duration of the visit. In some cases, these visits must take place in public to further minimize the chance of danger to the child.
Could Texas Completely Take Custody of My Child Away?
A parent’s custody rights can be completely terminated in our state, but this is something that only happens in extreme cases. For example, if the parent seriously assaulted their child, custody might be revoked. Even in these situations, however, the judge must find that termination of custody is actually best for the minor.
If you are facing domestic violence charges and you want the best chance at a positive decision, it is important that you recognize how these types of charges work so you can effectively fight back. This is especially true if you are involved in a custody dispute or have children. Do not delay – get in touch with an experienced Tarrant County domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.