As a parent, your child is an important part of your life, so naturally, matters relating to child custody, also called conservatorship, may be one of the most contentious parts of your divorce. Whether you and your spouse are working together to find an agreeable custody arrangement or whether a court must decide, the best interests of your child should always be at the heart of any custody decision.
As parents, you and your spouse probably know better than anyone what your child’s needs are. However, you and your spouse may still disagree on what those best interests are, so it can be valuable to understand how a court determines the best interests of a child.
How best interests are determined
When determining the best interests of a child, Texas courts can consider any relevant factor. However, some factors courts often consider, include:
- The child’s physical, psychological and emotional needs and development
- Each parent’s ability to put the child’s welfare first when making decisions
- Each parent’s ability to support the child’s relationship with the other parent
- How caretaking duties were divided before the divorce
- How close each parent’s house is to the other parent’s house
- The child’s preference, under some circumstances
When making custody decisions, Texas courts prioritize finding a safe, stable and nonviolent environment for a child. Often, joint managing conservatorship is awarded because it is usually in a child’s best interests to maintain a positive relationship with both parents. However, in situations that involve a history of domestic violence, joint managing conservatorship is not assumed to be in the child’s best interest.
Divorce is often an emotional time, which can sometimes tempt parents to lose sight of their child’s needs. However, custody decisions have a big impact on a child’s life. This is why it is important that every custody decision is made with your child’s best interests in mind.