Do You Know What Is Best for Your Child?

Family Law

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Do You Know What Is Best for Your Child?

You believe that you know what is best for your child, and the Supreme Court of Texas agrees with you. A landmark Court decision in June of 2020 addresses just this issue, and it turns out that all you parents out there are right. The case involves a non-parent who fights for and obtains visitation rights with his deceased fiancée's daughter in a lower court – over the child's father's objections – only to have the decision overturned by the Supreme Court of Texas. Family law attorneys observed the case because the outcome was destined to have a significant impact on parent's rights in the State of Texas, and it has.

The Case

The case in question is In re C.J.C. In it, the Supreme Court of Texas unanimously upholds the rights of all fit parents to determine what is best for their own children. The Court's ruling reversed a lower court's order that granted the fiancé of a five-year-old child's deceased mother partial custody of the girl. The Supreme Court of Texas came down firmly on the side of all fit parents. The lower-court judge's decision to grant partial custody to the non-parent fiancé – over the child's father's objections – was ultimately found to violate the father's constitutional rights. The Supreme Court found that the 14th Amendment's due process clause, which protects the right of all fit parents to parent their children without governmental interference, was violated by the lower court's ruling.

The Details

The details of the case include:

  • The young girl's mother died in a car accident in 2018.

  • Both the child's grandparents and her mother's fiancé sought joint custody of the child – with the girl's biological father.

  • The grandparent's case was dismissed.

  • The fiancé had lived with the girl's mother for almost 11 months, and the girl had spent a bit more than half of her time in her mother's household during this period.

  • The mother's fiancé was granted rights to partial possession of the child by the lower court.

The fact is that the State of Texas allows nonrelatives who have lived in a child's primary home for no less than six months to fight for the child's custody. This process is more doable for a non-parent, romantic partner than for grandparents or other relatives (who are unlikely to live in a child's primary home for any length of time). The Court's ruling makes clear that fit parents have the constitutional right to parent their children – unfettered by the government's interference.

You Need an Experienced Killeen Family Law Attorney on Your Side

If you face a child custody concern, attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, knows precisely how important the matter is and is ready to bring his considerable experience in skillfully advocating for a resolution that supports your rights. We are here to help, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.

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