Best Interest of the Child

child2Children have the right to expect and enjoy a safe, stable, non-violent home environment where they will have frequent, meaningful, on-going contact with both parents. The only caveat the Court will accept is when one or both parents have shown the an inability to act in the child’s best interests or have acted in such a manner as to endanger the child.

Accordingly, if your reason for wanting “sole custody” is because you “feel” (fill in the blank here with whatever basis or reasoning you have) and you cannot objectively show the court that your feelings are justified based on the conduct of the other parent, you will loose that request. In other words, the Judge will have no issues looking you straight in the eye and saying your reasoning is not good for the kids.

I often hear Primary Conservators say “If he won’t pay child support I don’t have to let him see my child.” I also hear the flip of that coin – “Why should I pay child support of she won’t let me see my child?”  Both positions violate the law. In Texas, the Court may not condition access on the payment of support or the payment of support on access. Furthermore, no matter what the issue between the parents, the child is as entitled to the visitation.

What does the court consider when making custody decisions in Texas? In the State of Texas, the best interests of the child is the primary consideration when making a ruling on a custody case (TFC ¶153.002). Some of the factors the court may consider include:
The preference of the parents, as to the conservatorship (custody) of their child.

The history of the care of the child.

Which parent has served as the child’s primary care-giver.

The interrelationships between the child and each parent.

The physical, mental, and emotional health of the child.

Whether or not the child has any special needs, and which parent is better equipped to meet those needs.

The capacity of each parent to perform parental responsibilities and to protect and raise the child in a safe, stable, loving environment.