Most child custody disputes boil down to a single consideration: What are the best interests of the children involved?
As such, a Texas family law court will generally consider all the facts and circumstances surrounding the divorce in order to arrive at a realistic and fair solution that honors the best interests of the children.
The factors courts consider to determine best interests
In order to determine the best interests of children, Texas courts will review and a lot of different facts. Here are just a few of the most important things that a court will include in such a review:
- What does the child want? If the child is old enough and mature enough, the court may consider what the child wants in the custody decision. The court will not be bound by the child's wants, but it could help the court determine the child's best interests.
- The physical and mental health conditions of both parents. If a parent is physically unable or mentally incapable of servicing the needs of the child, courts may award custody to the other parent.
- Cultural and religious considerations. Religious and cultural concerns can play an important role in many child custody cases.
- The need for a stable home environment. It's generally taken for granted that the child's best interests involve the most stable home environment possible.
- The ability of the child to interact with extended family members.
- The ability of the child to continue his or her relationships with other people who shared a home with him or her, including family members and people close to the family.
- The need to adjust to a new school or new community if a move is required due to the custody decision.
- The sex and age of the child.
- The use of excessive discipline or the use of emotional abuse by one or the other parent.
- Whether either parent has been convicted of a crime.
- Whether either parent has a drug or alcohol abuse problem.
Defend your child custody rights in court
In addition to the above, courts will consider any other information that it deems important or necessary for the purpose of determining a child's best interests. Spouses may therefore wish to produce different evidence during the litigation of your child custody disputes in order to make a compelling case to defend their child custody rights.