We are open again for business at the beautiful brick and mortar location! Although we are very conscious of the COVID-19 risks, we understand that people especially need family lawyers at this time. After practicing in the area a family law for 33 years and being board-certified for 28 of those years, I have a keen awareness of how the current situation has deeply affected marriages and children in our community. We stand ready and able to service our ongoing clients in our newly disinfected office wherein we now require that all visitors submit their forehead for a contactless temperature reading to protect our work family and yours. We do require that you wear a mask as prescribed by federal, county and city regulations. When I built my office in 2013 I incurred  the additional monies to ensure that all visitors were safe from the spreading of germs and bacteria by installing high tech visitor restrooms with touchless water, soap and dryers, I had no idea that this would be such an added layer of safety for our clients and employees during this pandemic.  This foresight gives us the ability to provide you with the highest standard of cleanliness and low risk for infection when you visit our beautiful, SPACIOUS office, in person where we can comply with social distancing with no problem whatsoever. We are accepting new clients at this time and have instituted new policies for receiving payments online as well as having our intake forms as easy PDF fillable documents as well as giving you the opportunity to provide us with all of your evidence and other important documentation by sending same via electronic transmission. We have all of our clients’ private and confidential  information saved and protected, while being accessible to the staff through our extremely secure Cloud Client Platform and Portal hosted by legal industry giant, ThomsenReuters. For this reason, during the stay at home sheltering orders we were one of the few law firms in the county to already have transitioned to a virtual Law Firm. This permitted our brilliant and innovative family law attorneys to continue to seamlessly provide the very best legal representation to the DFW population which we serve. We are able to represent clients not only in Tarrant County, but all surrounding counties such as Johnson, Dallas, Collin, Kaufman and Parker. 

I have handpicked the most competent, experienced and hard working support staff to flawlessly meet the needs of our clients as a full-service family law firm. We have recently been named as one of the top 20 divorce law firms in Arlington! I have garnered many honors over my many years of practice, including being named as Top Attorney in Fort Worth for over a decade each year and I have twice been selected by my peers as a “Super Lawyer” of Texas, an honor reserved for an extremely small percentage of Texas lawyers. Although I am proud of all of these accolades, this would mean nothing to my clients if I had not concentrated on a mission of using my decades of experience to build my law form into a well organized business utilizing the most cutting edge technological tools to represent my clients in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. This goal has served me well during this ongoing epidemic. My goal is to provide the most excellent t legal services to all of the community at a cost that does not bankrupt a client. 

If you are at high risk to contract Coronavirus or prefer to have all of your contact with our office in virtual form, we are set up on Zoom for immediate consultations for new clients. My Mission Statement has always been: “When It comes to your family and your finances, experience matters!” These words are more true now than ever. During these uncertain times I wanted to reach out to our community and assure your that because of my many years of practice, I had already built in all of the safeguards to enable our brilliant lawyers and awesome paralegals to continue the essential work that they do from home during the height of the pandemic. I wanted to put the word out there that we stand ready and able to meet all of your family law needs, now more than ever. We are also still offering our simple Estate Planning Kit at a greatly reduced price to give back to the community that has been so wonderful and supportive over the last 33 years as I built one of the best family law firms in the State. Prayers to all of you during these frightening times, and please remember that we have the experience and technology to best serve you, our important clients who are the reason for our continued existence and survival.  At the end of the day, no business is more essential than a family law firm with a  dedicated team ready to shepherd you through any crisis that you and your family are experiencing. Please reach out to us if you need help now at ArlingtonDivorces.com or call (817) 572-9900 and Amanda can get you set up to meet with us to give you advice immediately,

Little girl hugging her dad

Child Custody

Child custody disputes are highly stressful. If handled improperly, you could lose custody rights that you are entitled to.

Our dedicated family law attorneys can stand by your side, shouldering the burden and ensuring that your child's best interests are met.

At The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt in Arlington, our team of dedicated professionals works with you to achieve an optimal resolution.

Don't fight alone. Contact The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt Today

Navigating the legal waters of a child custody case can be difficult and stressful. By hiring a lawyer, you can rest easier knowing our law firm will handle the complexities of your case and guide you through this difficult time in your life. Donna J. Smiedt has spent over 35 years in practice and has been a board-certified family law attorney since 1991. We pride ourselves on creating a relaxing atmosphere in our office and have therapy dogs on location to give you comfort. Call us today or request a consultation online.

(817) 572-9900

Donna J Smiedt

Serving Arlington, Southlake, Westover Hills,
and the Greater DFW Area

The Benefits of Working With a Child Custody Attorney

While it is possible to represent yourself in a child custody case, hiring a child custody lawyer is always recommended. The legal insight of a lawyer who regularly handles child custody issues can provide many benefits, including:
Woman stressed out at a laptop

Peace of Mind

Family law is complicated, especially issues of custody. You may find yourself doing hours and hours of internet research but still not be confident that you have a full grasp of the legal situation. When you hire a child custody lawyer, you may be able to sleep better at night. Working with an attorney ensures that every aspect of the case is being handled properly.

Legal document on child custody

Faster Results

Someone without formal legal training will almost certainly make some kind of error, whether on paperwork or in the courtroom. These mistakes can lead to frustrating and stressful delays in the dispute being resolved. In some cases, this can even affect your final outcome. For the most efficient possible resolution, enlist a child custody attorney.

Child holding teddy bear during tense parental discussion

Protection of Your Rights

The other parent might try to compromise your access to your child, especially if he or she has their own legal representation. To avoid receiving anything less than your full legal custody rights, it's important to have a lawyer by your side.

Virtual Consultations Available

Client calling the Family Law Firm of Donna Smiedt
At the Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt, we offer virtual consultations to make our services more accessible to our clients. We understand that we live in a busy world, and there are a multitude of reasons why you may not be able to meet in our office. By offering a virtual option, we feel that we can better assist clients and give them options during a difficult time.  
"There is no possible way to plan for what challenges life can throw at you. When one of our grown children approached my wife and I needing guidance regarding a custody battle with our grandchild, I knew immediately who I was going to contact for advice. Already having a business-to-business relationship with Donna and her team, I had already been introduced to the knowledge, reputation and professionalism that this firm is so well known for. What I didn't know was how Donna and her team (Mr. Munoz, Jennifer, and Desaray) would shift gears from our business relationship and really take a personal interest in resolving a very important family issue for our son. I find it SO REFRESHING when people/businesses deliver on the promises they make - not because they do business together - because they care about getting the right results in the most efficient manner possible. There are many Family Law Firm options out there and as many unique situations to resolve. In my opinion, there is only one team/firm I would trust with both -Thank You Team Smiedt!"
Scott Daniels, 5-Star Reviews

What Influences A Judge's Custody Decision?

While Texas statutes and prior case law provide guidance for custody choices, judges still have wide discretion in determining conservatorship. If both parents are made conservators, the judge typically names one parent the primary joint managing conservator (the “custodial parent”). The custodial parent is the one that has the right to determine where the child lives and receives child support. All other decisions are typically made by both parents, unless otherwise spelled out in the conservatorship.

The child custody lawyers at The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt are familiar with what judges use to determine conservatorship and who is the custodial parent. We work closely with you, collecting evidence that will help persuade a judge that selecting you as the custodial parent will be in your child's best interests.

Aspects a judge typically considers include:

  • The ability of a parent to give first priority to the welfare of the child
  • Whether a parent can encourage and accept a healthy relationship with the other parent
  • How much a parent participated in a child's care before the split
  • Whether the physical, psychological, and emotional needs of the child benefit from a joint managing conservatorship
  • Incidences of neglect, abuse, and alcohol or drug dependency
  • The distance between the parents' homes
  • Each parents' financial stability
  • If the child is 12 or older, the judge may consider the child's preference on deciding where they prefer to live
  • Any other relevant factors

Why Hire Donna J. Smiedt?

Team at the Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt

Whether you are working out the details of a recent divorce or remediating a previous child custody agreement, Donna J. Smiedt and her associate, Desaray R. Muma, want to help you reach a just and fair arrangement that meets the best interests of your child. All of our attorneys frequently handle child custody disputes and care deeply about the families they assist through these difficult times.

Donna J. Smiedt has been a Board Certified Family Law Attorney - Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1991. She has practiced law in the Arlington area for more than 30 years, and in that time has built a respected family law practice.

What Sets Us Apart ...

Unlike some other family lawyers, The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt is committed to the emotional well-being of our clients. In our minds, a "win" doesn't really count if parents and children come away from a custody dispute with traumatic memories and emotional scars. We take pride in handling every custody case as quickly, amicably, and fairly as possible.

Everyone at Ms. Smiedt's office strives to provide a relaxing, stress-free atmosphere. We love introducing clients to our office divorce therapy dog, Baxter. If you are looking for child custody lawyers who will handle your situation kindly while seeking a just resolution, look no further than The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt.

"We hired Donna Smiedt to handle a very contentious child custody case in 2010. From the day we signed on to have Donna represent us we have received excellent representation and results. Donna has represented us well and listened to all of our needs and requests. Donna was professional and reassured us that our case would be taken care of. My wife and I can not say enough good things about Donna and her personal attention to a stressful matter. We highly recommend to anyone going through a divorce or considering divorce. You won't find a better family attorney than Donna Smiedt." Ed McKiernan

Call Us Today... For Answers to Your Custody Questions

Without an attorney, the best interests of your child may be in jeopardy. Reach out today to make certain that your rights–and your child's future–are protected while going through a divorce or informal separation.

The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt in Arlington, TX, can help you reach a custody solution that serves your child's best interests.

Schedule a legal consultation by contacting us online or by calling our office at:

(817) 572-9900

The Family Law Firm of Donna J Smiedt office building
Our Arlington, TX, law office is also convenient to Southlake, Westover Hills, and other Tarrant County communities.

Avoid the Courtroom:

Custody Agreements through Mediation

There is an alternative to lengthy and confusing custody disputes handled by the court. Mediation with Donna J. Smiedt and her team allows parents to reach a custody agreement amicably and quicker than traditional litigation, especially if the parents are on good terms. In addition, mediation is usually much cheaper than going through the courts.

During mediation, the two parents, their attorneys (if they have them), and a mediator meet in a neutral location to negotiate a custody agreement. The lawyers at Donna J. Smiedt's firm can work as a parent's attorney or as a mediator. These meetings offer opportunities for parents and their representation to work out a custody plan that meets their child's best interests.

Child Custody in Texas: Quick Facts

Donna J. Smiedt and her associates are proud members of the Tarrant County legal community and have served clients from Arlington, Southlake, Westover Hills, and the greater DFW area for decades. Before beginning your child custody negotiation, here are some facts about child custody in Texas you may find useful:

  • In Texas, child custody is legally referred to as "conservatorship."
  • The default position of Texas is to name the separated or divorced parents joint managing conservators, but the well-being of the child is always the court's top priority. To argue for a court-ordered arrangement other than joint managing conservatorship, the assistance of a child custody lawyer is particularly valuable.
  • Joint managing conservatorship is not the same as shared custody. In typical joint managing conservatorship arrangements, one parent has primary physical custody of the child while the other parent has visitation rights (possession and access). Both parents have equal say in decision-making regarding the child, such as education, religious upbringing, extracurricular activities, etc.
  • Judges in Texas are required to consider evidence of domestic abuse when handling a custody case.
  • In some circumstances, especially those involving parental neglect, third parties can sue for custody of the child. Donna J. Smiedt and her team also assist third parties, especially grandparents, with custody cases.

Do You Have a Complex Case?

We Specialize in Difficult Child Custody Cases

Donna J. Smiedt focuses on complex family law cases, including child custody. She has practiced law since 1986 and has been a board-certified family law attorney since 1991.

Her familiarity with the state child custody laws, the Texas legal system, and local judges are a boon when it comes to presenting your case to the court. In addition to crafting a sound legal strategy, The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt also makes a point of creating a calming environment that will help you make thoughtful decisions.

If you have questions about your next steps, leave us a message online or request a consultation by phone:

(817) 572-9900

"I’ve hired Donna and her team for multiple child custody cases. She’s been nothing but kind, caring, honest, and professional during these extremely emotional and stressful times in my life. She always makes me feel like I’m her only client, and puts me at ease with her abilities and knowledge of the law. She’s won every case for me and I don’t know what I would have done without her and excellent team of paralegals and attorneys. She definitely gets the job done and more!! I highly recommend her for any family law issues." Lindsey Hogue

When to Hire a Child Custody Attorney

Legal aid is always recommended during a child custody situation. However, acquiring the assistance of a qualified child custody lawyer may be especially important in certain cases:

New Divorce

If you and your spouse share children and are divorcing, the most important agreement that will be reached is the child custody agreement. Getting the custody arrangement right the first time can save serious headaches and heartaches in the future. Having an attorney's assistance is especially important if you plan on pursuing an arrangement other than Texas's default custody decision (joint managing conservatorship).

Learn More About the Divorce Process

Interstate Custody Arrangements

Custody disputes become even more complicated when the two parents live in different states. Whether the parents lived in different states at the time of separation or one moved away after, the legal maze created by such a situation is difficult to navigate. Donna J. Smiedt and her team can handle these situations and will work with you to reach a beneficial solution.

Learn More About Interstate Child Custody

Changing Circumstances

Previous conservatorship agreements may require modification if the circumstances of the parents or children change. Possible changes include one parent remarrying, a change in employment status, a medical health issue, or unexpected financial hardship. In these situations, your custody agreement may no longer serve the best interests of your child. A child custody lawyer can help amend it.

Learn More About Child Custody Modification

Parental Conduct Issues

If you are concerned that the behavior of your co-parent is irresponsible, illegal, or harmful to your child in any way (especially in the case of abuse), a child custody attorney can help you gain primary or even full physical custody of your child. The family court system in Texas takes child abuse very seriously. A lawyer can help you quickly get your child to safety–immediately and in the long-term.

Contact Us to Discuss the Safety of Your Child

Let Us Help You...

Custody negotiations are rarely easy. If you are going through a complicated divorce or contentious disputes over visitation, possession, and access to your child, the difficulties may be compounded.

The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt wants to help you find the best situation for your child. Whether you are outlining your first child custody arrangement or need to amend an existing one, let us make the situation a little easier for you.

If you live in Arlington, Southlake, or Westover Hills, TX, we encourage you to contact us online or schedule a consultation by calling:

(817) 572-9900

"Professional and Helpful"

"Donna represented me with my divorce and child custody case. She was always professional and helpful. I never felt like she was judging me and I appreciated it immensely. Her knowledge of the law and the family court system was very good. Her office staff have always been professional and helpful too." Ross Dunk

Child Custody and Military Parents

Being in the military can make family law matters even more difficult. Texas law has special stipulations to help military parents navigate their service obligations as well as custody arrangements:

Custodial Parents Deploying for Military Service

If you are the custodial parent and deploying for military service, you may ask the courts to designate another person as the custodian while you are deployed. This can be the non-custodial parent, a grandparent, a close friend, or another relative, depending on your situation. If the courts determine the non-custodial parent is not fit to take on the role of the custodial parent, or if the person you designate is deemed unfit, the courts may appoint someone for you.

Non-Custodial Military Parent and Visitation

If you are the non-custodial parent and deploying for military service, you may ask the courts to designate another parent to fulfill your visitation time. You may also ask the courts to designate make-up visitation times for when you return from your deployment or temporary military duty. This will be determined based on the best interests of the child. This request may be made to the courts up to 90 days following the end of your deployment or temporary military duty.

Child Custody in Texas: Glossary of Terms

  • Conservatorship: The legal term for "custody" in Texas, describing your court-ordered relationship with your child.
  • Joint Managing Conservator: When two parents are named joint managing conservators, the child primarily resides with one parent while the other parent has visitation rights. Both parents have equal say in major decisions.
  • Custodial Parent: The parent with whom the child lives in the case of a joint managing conservatorship.
  • Non-Custodial Parent: The parent who has visitation rights but with whom the child does not primarily live.
  • Sole Managing Conservator: If a parent (or even a non-parent) is named sole managing conservator, they have exclusive decision-making rights over the child.
  • Possessory Conservator: If one parent is a sole managing conservator, then the other parent may be a possessory conservator, who can still enjoy a relationship with the child but does not have the final say in decision-making for the child.
  • Custody Order: A court order from a Texas state judge that declares where the child will live, who has decision-making power for the child, who has visitation rights, and other specifics of the custody arrangement.
  • Visitation: The court-ordered plan that outlines when a non-custodial parent can spend time with their child.
  • Child Support: Court-ordered payments made by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to assist in raising the child.

"Donna Is a Very Caring Person."

"Donna has represented my son in a child custody case and my wife and I in a grandparents custody case and she has done a masterful job. I don't know where my grandchildren would be without Donna. She has given them a chance to have a much better life and a chance to be loved and grow into well rounded adults. Donna is a very caring person that really looks out for the benefit of children and her clients." Jerry Johnston
the team at The Family Law Firm of Donna J Smiedt

The Family Law Firm of Donna J Smiedt

The Family Law Firm of Donna J Smiedt is the premier destination for clients who need representation during a divorce, adoption, or other family law matters. Donna J. Smiedt has been in practice since 1986 and is a Board Certified Family Law Attorney – Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Her other professional affiliations include:

  • Texas Bar College
  • Arlington Bar Association
  • Tarrant County Bar Association
  • Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists

To schedule a consultation at our Arlington, TX, law firm, contact us online or call (817) 572-9900.

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3216 W Arkansas Ln
Arlington, TX 76016

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