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Child Custody Legal Services

Child custody disputes can be heart-rending. When a child is at the center of a conflict, the importance of the outcome cannot be understated. If you have questions about your legal rights as a parent ? whether at the beginning stages of a divorce, after a divorce is finalized, or as part of an unmarried couple ? there is no substitute for getting early and knowledgeable legal advice from an experienced family law attorney.

David Michael Ryan & associates has more than 16 years' legal experience. We have mediated hundreds of disputes in this legal practice, making us well-suited to help clients resolve their child custody disputes.

Original Child Custody Determinations

During the divorce process, parents usually attempt to agree on a child custody and visitation arrangement without the imposition of a family court judge's opinion. When parents are able to negotiate child custody and visitation, the agreement usually has a better chance of working well for the family and serving the best interests of the child and the parents.

If, however, the parents are unable to negotiate a child custody and visitation agreement, then they must each present their case to a family court judge. The judge will examine each spouse in terms of parental fitness, and there will usually be a court-ordered evaluation of the child, as well. Based on expert testimony and the testimony of the parents, the judge will issue a child custody and visitation order that the parents must comply with.

The custody order will determine such issues as physical and legal custody of the children, and decide whether custody is held jointly or by one parent alone.

Changing Child Custody: Relocation or Unfit Parenting

After a divorce, one parent may find that he or she wants to change the existing child custody order. This is especially common in cases where the custodial parent wants to move out of the area, but is prevented from doing so by a residency restriction in the existing divorce decree. Or one parent may uncover evidence that the custodial parent is an unfit parent ? perhaps the custodial parent is using drugs, has a friend or new spouse who uses drugs, or otherwise has exposed the child to danger.

Child custody modifications ? where one parent wants to change the custody arrangements as specified in the divorce decree ? can be long, hard-fought courtroom battles. In these types of custody disputes, more than any other type of family law conflict, it is critically important to have early help from a confident and knowledgeable family law attorney.

David Michael Ryan & Associates
6161 Savoy Drive, Suite 1116
Houston, TX 77036
Tel: 713-223-9898
Fax: 713-223-8448

Telephones are answered 24 hours a day, and include dedicated lines for clients who speak:

713.223.9898   English
713.784.8788   Chinese (Mandarin)
713.541.3100   Korean
713.334.7348   Spanish
713.457.0930   Vietnamese