Determining child custody may be the most stressful aspect of your divorce. Will you be able to provide for your child if you are given physical custody? If your former spouse has custody of your child, will you be able to protect your relationship with them? If you share custody, how can you make sure that your child has they attention and guidance they need in both households?
There are many factors that go into a child custody decision, making your case as unique as your family.
What is in your child’s best interest?
Generally, Texas laws require that any decisions about custody of your child be based on your child’s best interest. A wide variety of aspects of your child’s life will be considered in this, including:
- The ages of you and your former spouse
- Your child’s age
- Your child’s health needs and any other special needs that they might have
- Your child’s educational needs
- Your child’s relationship with each parent, their siblings and other family members
- Each parent’s ability to provide a stable home environment and spend time with your child
- Whether there are accusations of domestic violence
These are not the only factors that could go into your child custody decision. If the court decides that other factors are relevant, they may take those other details into consideration.
Your child’s preference could be a factor.
While children don’t generally speak in court about which parent they would prefer to live with, your child may be interviewed about their custody preferences. This depends on your child’s age, however.
While younger children can be interviewed to determine their preferences, these interviews are only required for children over the age of 12. Alternatively, paperwork can also be filed by a child to express their preference. These interviews will not just be about a child’s preference but why they want to live with one parent or the other, allowing the judge to determine not only their preference but also how much weight it should be given when making the final custody decision.
It is Important to remember that child custody is meant to give your child the best possible home life, and that you have parental rights even if you are not a noncustodial parent. No matter what custody arrangement suits your family, you can still have a strong and active relationship with your children.