The Law Office of Judy Ritts

Child Custody Law in Houston, TX

Custody disputes are the most costly family law cases, both financially and emotionally. They drain funds from both parties and the community estate and they drain whatever goodwill might still be found in the parents’ relationship.

They are usually difficult for the children as they are pulled and prodded, both overtly and covertly, to make a choice between competing parents. Children do not like this dilemma and often resent being put in this position.

With some exceptions, the only winners in a custody fight are the lawyers. But the exceptions are important! If a child is being or is likely to be abused, neglected or otherwise traumatized, fight to keep that child safe! If a parent abuses drugs (illegal or prescription), abuses alcohol, cannot control their emotions (anger, sadness, or other mental health issues), or cannot provide a stable environment (frequent moves, many short-term jobs, insufficient funds for necessities), fight to keep that child safe!

Absent one or more of these factors, the children will probably stay where they are. Judges don’t like to disrupt children’s lives any more than necessary.

If you have not separated yet, think carefully before you agree to let the child go or stay with the other parent. Unless there is some significant change, the Judge may see that agreement as your custody decision. For example, if you’re so worried about the child not being safe with your spouse, why did you let them stay with that person in the first place?

Changing custody from an established court order is somewhat different. It requires a material and substantial change of circumstances of a parent or the child or an expressed desire of a child 12 years of age or older (see below). A material and substantial change does NOT mean that dad now has a bigger apartment and his son can have his own room there. It does NOT mean that mom finished her rehab program and is ready for her daughter to come “home.” The Judge will want to be convinced that moving this child is worth the disruption to their life and is in their best interest. Without some compelling reason, Judges usually like to leave kids where they are.

If a child is 12 years of age or older, they may meet with the Judge to express their preference on where they live. The only way to express their preference is to the Judge in person. DO NOT ask your child to write any statement about any issue in a case. It is not in their best interest to do so and the Judge will not be happy with you.

Protecting your child is the most important job of a parent. Sometimes that means fighting for custody. Those disputes come at a cost, though, and parents should carefully consider whether the outcome is worth the price.

Call Call
for a FREE Case Assessment

Practice Areas
  • Family Law
  • Divorce
  • Adoption Law
  • Child Custody Law
  • Child Support
  • Visitation Rights
  • Domestic Violence
  • Spousal Support
  • Paternity
  • Father's Rights

  • What Our Clients Say

    Credit Cards

    This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. [ Site Map ] [ Bookmark Us ]