The divorce rate in the United States hovers around 40 to 50 percent, and in many divorce cases, there are children caught in the crossfire of litigation for child custody. Of course, some child custody cases can be extremely complex and highly emotional, and while the parents litigate over who’ll receive primary custody, the child is often left voiceless in the matter. In order to provide a voice for the child, the Texas family courts step in and perform the function of determining what is in the child’s best interest.
As one of the leading divorce and child custody attorneys in the Mansfield-Fort Worth, we will fight for the best interests of your child as well as your interests. We have years of experience in Texas family courts, as well as a prominent record of successful cases. If you are going through a divorce and child custody case, call the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart today.
In the meantime, you can learn more about how custody is awarded in divorce below.
How Texas Courts Award Child Custody
In Texas, the factors determining “best interest” are detailed in Texas Family Code Section 263 Subsection 307. According to the Family Code, “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.” This is, of course, a difficult decision for courts, as the courts have to determine what’s best for the child’s emotional, physical, and mental needs.
The Texas Supreme Court case, Holley v. Adams, is the most frequently cited case when determining best interests. With regards to this case, the court may award child custody based on some of the following facts and circumstances:
- Desires of the child. If the child is more than 12 years old, the court may consult the child regarding his/her preferences in residence.
- Emotional and physical needs of the child, now and in the future. Courts may determine the development of the child, and the child’s emotional and physical needs should, ideally, be as similar to their state prior to the divorce.
- Emotional and physical dangers to the child, now and in the future. Courts may weigh evidence supporting concerns over dangerous conditions.
- Parental abilities of the parent (or individual) seeking custody. Courts may consider the parents’ past history taking care of the child’s emotional and physical needs. Additionally, work and travel schedules may influence the decision.
- Plans for the child by the parents. The parents may meet with mediators, court-appointed attorneys, and parenting facilitators to work out a parenting plan in the child’s best interests.
- Stability in the home or proposed location. Typically, if the child is well-adjusted in the home he/she currently lives in, and the parent living in that home is the better conservator, the court may choose a decision that least disrupts the child’s life.
There are many other factors that the courts examine, but in any case, the courts encourage parents to work together to form a custody and visitation plan before the judge has a custody hearing.
By considering the factors mentioned above, the Texas family court may award physical and legal custody to one parent (sole conservator) or both parents (joint conservators). In any case,
Call the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart in Mansfield-Fort Worth
We at the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart hold a similar value as Texas family courts: keeping families together in the best interests of the child. Family law attorney Wendy Hart offers compassionate, experience-based legal representation and guidance, and we always work with clients, one-on-one, to make sure that your interests stand at the forefront of our legal strategy. If you are getting divorced and are facing a possible child custody hearing, call our Mansfield-Fort Worth law office today at (817) 842-2336.