Best Interest of the Child
The Court in Texas must consider the best interest of the child.
Texas Family Code specifically states that the Court is required to render orders in custody and child support cases based on what the Court determines to be int he Child’s best interest. The question then, is what is in the child’s best interest.. To understand this concept you must first accept the premise that children 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.
Both parents are given the benefit of the doubt and both parents are presumed to be interested in protecting the child, until someone shows the Judge that one or both parents do NOT have the ability to act in the child’s best interests or have acted in such a manner as to endanger the child. This presumption in favor of a parent is like the presumption of innocence in a criminal case. It is just there. But, unlike a criminal case, no one has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a parent is not acting in the child’s best interest because the focus is on the child. And it is this standard that forms the basis of my statement “Both parents are equal until a Judge decides they are not equal.” See my post on Father’s Rights for more information.
What is “best interest of the child”?
The Texas Family Code requires the Judge to determine what is in the child’s best interest but it does not define the term.
Often times a client approaches and says he or she wants sole custody because it would be best for the child. But the reasoning given is because that parent wants “sole custody” because he or she “feels” (fill in the blank here with whatever basis or reasoning is given). “Feelings” are not evidence. The parent asking to restrict the other parent’s parenting time or authority must objectively show the court that his or her feelings are justified based on the conduct of the other parent. In other words, the Judge will have no problem looking a mother straight in the eye and saying “your reasoning is not good for the kids.”
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. If both parents who both love and know the child, as well as what the child needs on a daily basis can agree what is best for the child, a Judge who has never met the child will rule accordingly.
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.
The ability and willingness (or lack thereof) of each parent to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent.
Attorney Roy Reeves has 2 decades of experience in helping the Judge see the facts and evidence that demonstrate the best interest of the child. If you and the other parent can agreement on custody, we offer unbundled legal services to draft your orders and help you get them filed with the Court. Another option is to mediate your custody issues. Otherwise, you and your children deserve an experienced family law attorney who handles child custody and child support cases in Collin County Texas, someone who knows the political atmosphere in McKinney, Texas, a family law attorney with offices in Plano, Texas and McKinney, Texas that can evaluate your case, give you advice based on 20 years experience in family law in Texas. Call Reeves Law Firm at 972-596-4000 to schedule an appointment today.