Child custody is a hot-button issue. As a parent, you want to stay in your children’s lives and be able to parent them even after a divorce. While there is an attitude that courts prefer to give custody to mothers, Texas courts do not consider gender when determining custody. They do assume parents will have joint custody unless there are extenuating circumstances. The main factor a court uses to make decisions about custody is what is in the children’s most favorable interests.
Before looking at the considerations, you should know that the state uses terms with which you may not be familiar to identify custodial and noncustodial parents. The Texas Office of the Attorney General explains a noncustodial parent is a possessory conservator and a custodial parent is a managing conservator. The state also calls custody “conservatorship” or “visitation.”
Best interests definition
“Best interests” is a commonly debated concept because it does not have a specific definition. However, the court does have various ways of determining if an arrangement is in the best interests of the children in a situation.
The court will consider if you have a stable home and can provide stability for your children. It will look at your abilities as a parent to properly care for your children. It will also consider if you can provide financially for your children.
The court also will look at what your children want if they are old enough to express their desires. It will also consider the needs of your children on every level, emotional and physical. In making a determination, the court will also consider any past issues in the family, such as domestic violence or abuse.
One last consideration
The court will also consider your character and behavior during the custody proceedings. The court does not want to see manipulation or lies as a way to try to get custody of the children.
Underhanded tactics are not uncommon in child custody cases. The court may not always be aware of what is happening outside the courtroom. This is why you need to have legal representation to provide you with a fair custody hearing.