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What are my chances of getting full custody? When is it best for me to file for child support/custody?

Dallas, TX |

I filed a police report about 6 mo. ago he was charged with class c assualt. He just recently got in trouble again being charged with public intoxication, failure to identify himself to a cop, and disorderly contact (fighting in public) he is fighting the charges. I don't feel comfortable just leaving my son alone for long periods of time with him as done with joint custody. He has a past of smoking marijuana as well though I don't think he's smoking now due to his job but he told me if I file for child support he would quit and get a low income job. I know it's important to have a father figure and I don't want to neglect my son from his father but I just don't feel comfortable leaving my child with him or his family without me being present at all times.

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Attorney answers 4


The sooner, the better. Full custody is kind of a misnomer in Texas. You've got possession and conservatorship instead. Possession is visitation and custody, conservatorship is the right to make decisions. The standard award in Texas is joint conservatorship with standard custody (every thursday for 2 hours and every other weekend).

Given his circumstances, you may be able to get restricted visitation, which is much more limited for him.

And if he quits and gets a low income job, a good lawyer can prove he's deliberately underemployed. I'd strongly recommend consulting a local attorney.


Why not get a lawyer and ask for court orders to receive child support and for supervised visitation? Sounds like he is bullying you and not much of a dad anyway. What's the downside?

I am not intending this to be legal advice, because I don't know the particulars of your situation. Call me if you would like to discuss this or other isues.


File for a modification requesting sole custody using allegations of alcohol abuse. Clearly if this guy violates the law and is dishonest to a police officer, he has a few issues. Get an attorney immediately. Make sure you take a copy of the police reports to the attorney.


If the assault was a family violence incident, you have a good chance to get Sole Managing Conservatorship. Otherwise, Joint Managing Conservatorship is the norm and you would have the burden to prove why that should not be put in place. Fortunately, SMC and JMC are separate from the possession/visitation schedule.

You need to have a good basis to overcome the presumption that the Standard Possession Order should apply - that means the child could be put in danger due to neglect, violent outbursts, or drug use around the child. You may have the allegations, the next step would be to prove those allegations through drug tests or proper presentation of the criminal cases/outcomes.

Child Support - he is going to have to pay child support. If he quits his job and gets a lower paying job, you can argue he did that just to spite you, and that he is intentionally unemployed. If the court agrees, the court will put in child support based on the higher-paying job. He would get no benefit at that point.

Dallas Courts tend to disfavor supervised visitation, and certainly wouldn't have you being the supervisor if the court granted supervised access. You need to have a list of people you and he can both agree on for supervision - his family, joint friends, someone - and confirm that the person(s) is willing to supervise. This is going to severely limit his time with his son, by the way, just because of the logistics of supervision.

Yes, your son should have a father figure. However, that father figure does need to be someone the child can emulate.

By the way, Texas does not have 'full custody.' I believe you mean sole managing conservatorship, the term used above. Again, that regards rights and duties and is different than the visitation schedule issue.

This answer is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice nor forming the attorney client relationship. This attorney is licensed in Texas.