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Fathers' rights: Four custody problems a lawyer can address

As a divorced father, you want -- and deserve -- a proper amount of time with your child or children. You should also have the ability to make important decisions about your child's life.

Texas courts use the term "conservatorship" instead of "custody," but the concept is the same when it comes to joint or full physical and legal responsibility for a child, whose best interest is expected to be at the heart of a judge's orders. During a divorce, one or both parents may be awarded decision making (managing conservator) and parenting time (possessory conservator) rights.

If you feel like your your rights and interests as a father are being disrespected, an experienced family law attorney can help. These four problems are common.

1. Not enough time with your kids

Texas courts are guided by the principle that kids are best served by having a functional relationship with both of their parents. If you believe parenting time is skewed in favor of your child's mother, get legal advice.

2. The kids are older now, and their needs have changed

Children's physical, emotional and social needs change as they grow: Their new schools, schedules, activities and preferences may call for a custody modification, which needs to be approved by a court. If the custody or visitation arrangements for your teenager have been in place since he or she was seven, you may want to have a lawyer evaluate what options you may have.

3. A visitation (parenting time) order that isn't being followed

Sometimes a parent fails to stick to a schedule, doesn't keep their word or neglect financial or medical responsibilities regarding a child; in some cases, pick-ups and drop-offs are missed consistently. An attorney can help you understand what recourse you may have, including enforcement actions.    

4. A possible relocation

If you or your coparent is planning to relocate with your child or children due to a career, relationship or family need, your custody arrangements could be impacted. If the plan involves moving more than a certain distance, a court may have to approve it.

Get the advice you need

Custody matters can be emotionally draining and incredibly frustrating. Get the help of a knowledgeable attorney if you are having any of these problems.

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