Parents have a responsibility to always do what is best for their children’s wellbeing. However, when it comes to divorce, it is easy for parents to lose sight of what their children need. Under Texas Family Code Sec. 153.102, courts must always prioritize the best interests of the child as custody is determined.
Determining the best interest of the child
It can be difficult to know exactly what arrangement will best benefit a child of divorce. Texas courts may consider the following factors when determining the best interests of the child:
- The child’s age and health
- The child’s emotional and physical needs
- The child’s preferences
- Parental ability to raise the child
- The parent’s work schedule
- Evidence of abuse/neglect or substance abuse
- Stability of living environment
- Acts or omissions of the parent that show improper relationship between child and parent
- Programs available to help parties support child.
Joint custody preferred in most cases
In most cases, Texas courts prefer to award parents joint child custody, meaning that both parents will share physical and legal custody of the child.
Shared physical custody of the child allows the child to spend time living with each parent. However, the time spent with each parent may not be equal. For example, one parent may have custody of the child during the school year, while the other parent may have custody during summer and winter breaks.
Shared legal custody allows both parents to share the responsibility of making decisions about the child’s upbringing. Both parents will have a say in where the child goes to school, what religion the child should be raised to follow, and where the child should go for medical treatment.
Determining child custody is rarely ever easy, even when both parents are focused on doing what is best for their child. A family law attorney can help evaluate your case and come up with an effective parenting plan for your family.