Child custody is one of the most contentious family law issues, and in many divorce cases, the child custody aspect of the case is quite often the most heated. No parent wants to part with his/her child, and for this reason, if you’re going through a divorce, it can help to understand the factors that Texas family courts consider when determining custody. However, the one fundamental aspect of Texas courts is the consideration for the child’s best interests, and the court will always aim to rule in favor of the child’s interests.
At the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart, we’ve helped numerous families just like yours through their child custody cases. We ensure diligent and full-service legal representation during these cases, guiding you through the legal process and vigorously litigating on your behalf. If you are facing a child custody case, call Mansfield-Fort Worth child custody attorney Wendy L. Hart today at (817) 842-2336.
How Texas Family Courts Determine Child Custody
Texas family courts take many factors into consideration when determining child custody, but “best interests” often stand at the forefront. In short, “best interests” are legally defined under Texas Family Code Section 263 Subsection 307, which states that “the best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.”
Additionally, Texas family courts are in compliance with the Uniform Child Custody Act, which applies the principles of best interest in child custody conflicts that cross state lines. According to the Family Code, the often-cited Texas Supreme Court case Holley v. Adams, and other legal issues, the Texas family court will consider child custody on the following factors:
- Stability in the home where the child will live. If a child is well-adjusted in a home, and the parent at that home is the better conservator, then the courts may wish for the child to stay in that home.
- Parenting abilities of the individuals seeking custody. The courts will examine each parent’s past history of taking care of the child’s emotional, financial, physical needs.
- Emotional and physical needs of the child, for now and the future. Courts will look at the child’s development, and try to keep the child’s emotional and physical needs as similar as possible to their pre-divorce state.
- Emotional and physical dangers to the child, for now and the future. Courts will weigh evidence regarding any potential dangers to the child.
- The parents’ plan. Parents are given the opportunity to develop a parenting plan that they both agree upon.
- The child’s own wishes. For children 12 and older stuck in the middle of a custody battle, the court may consult the child regarding his/her residence.
Keep in mind that there are countless other factors that the Texas court may take into account. After considering all of the evidence and testimony provided by both sides, the courts may award joint custody or sole custody; in many cases, there will also be a Standard Possession Order (SPO).
Filing a Parenting Plan
The courts encourage parents to complete their own parenting plan, as cooperation is often considered a good sign by the courts. However, if you and your ex-spouse can agree on a parenting plan, then there are some factors to consider. Some information to include in a parenting plan can include:
- The conservator who will have the right to choose the child’s primary residence.
- How the parents will divide and share the decision making responsibility.
- Each of the parent’s duty regarding the child’s physical care, support, and education.
- A visitation schedule.
- Provisions regarding how the parents will care for the child.
- Ways that the parents will resolve disputes instead of going to court.
Call the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart Today
Child custody is never an easy endeavor, but in the interests of the child, it’s often best to make the custody hearings as easy and stress-free as possible. Because these proceedings can be complex and involve heated emotions, however, it’s always best to consult with an experienced and top-rated Fort Worth family law attorney. Get a leading advocate who’ll stand by your rights and fight for the best interests of your child by calling the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart today at (817) 842-2336.