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The 'best interests' standard during child custody matters

Ending a marital relationship is tough. No one gets married thinking that it will one day end in divorce. However, the unfortunate reality is that roughly half of all marriage will meet this fate. Even when a spouse in Texas can cope with the idea that their marriage is over, it is much harder to cope with the idea that they have to develop a child custody plan. No one wants to think about spending less time with their child than they already have. However, this is a divorce issue that many have to come to terms with.

When establishing a child custody arrangement, courts will often look at the best interests standard when ruling on a custody order. This standard focuses on the placement of a child and what custody plan will provide the best outcome when it comes to their well-being and safety. While there is no standard definition for these guidelines, it generally refers to the legal deliberation the courts take when determining what services, actions and orders serve the best interests of a child.

There are some guiding principles for this standard. These focus on the health, safety and protection of the child. Various factors are used to determine what exactly are the best interests of the child. This can vary by state; however, there are some commonly used factors in these matters. This includes the emotional ties and relationships the child has with his or her parents as well as siblings and extended family members, the capacity of a parent to provide a safe home, the mental and physical needs of the child, the mental and physical health of the parents and the presence of domestic violence. Based on these factors, the court can determine whether joint or sole custody is appropriate.

No two families are the same; therefore, they will likely deal with different issues during the divorce process. Some divorcing parents can come to terms with a custody agreement on their own, making it work until their children are adults. Others find it much more challenging to see eye-to-eye with an ex-spouse, making it necessary to go to court to sort through this matter. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, it is important to take steps to become informed so your rights are protected.

Source: Childwelfare.gov, "Determining the Best Interests of the Child," accessed April 29, 2018

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Law Office of Michael D. Tracton, P.C.

12920 Dairy Ashford Road
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Sugar Land, TX 77478

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