One of the most contentious and, arguably, important aspects of a divorce is child custody. In Texas, custody is split into conservatorship (making decisions for the child) and possession and access (physical custody over the child). When determining which parent receives custody over the child, courts will decide based on the facts what type of arrangement is in the best interests of the child. At Scott M. Brown & Associates, we can help you present your position and goals as a parent in the clearest way possible and craft a creative custody agreement to account for your needs and the needs of your child. Contact us at 979-258-6813 today to schedule a consultation with our attorneys.
While the Texas Family Code does not explicitly provide a definition for “best interests of the child,” there are a few factors that courts typically look at when determining what is in the best interests of the child.
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In Holley v. Adams, the Texas Supreme Court considered the following list of factors when determining the best interest of the child:
- The desires of the child;
- The emotional and physical needs of the child;
- Any emotional or physical danger to the child now and in the future;
- The parenting ability of the person seeking custody;
- Any programs available to assist in promoting the best interest;
- Any plans for the child;
- The stability of each home; and
- Any acts or omissions of the parent.
Notably, the court in Holley listed the desires of the child as the first factor to look at when determining the best interest of the child. Contrast this with a later Texas Appellate Court decision that overruled the desires of the child as it determined the desires of the child did not align with the best interests of the child. Generally speaking, a child age 12 or older has a say in which parent he or she wishes to stay with, and the court should consider the child’s wishes when making a determination as to the best interests of the child.
In addition to the Holley factors listed above, here is a list of additional factors courts may consider when deciding what is in the best interest of the child:
- Which parent has been making medical decisions for the child,
- Which parent has been taking care of the child (e.g. feeding, waking up and putting to sleep) on a daily basis,
- Which parent has been more involved in the child’s school activities,
- Which parent has been making educational decisions for the child, and
- Which parent has been participating in the child’s extracurricular activities.
If so, contact a Harris County child custody lawyer today. At Scott M. Brown & Associates, our experienced lawyers have helped parents achieve their goals in custody cases by crafting creative custody agreements and finding effective solutions. Contact us online or at 979-258-6813 today to schedule a confidential one-on-one consultation with an attorney.