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How courts determine child custody

After a divorce, Texas parents often have to negotiate custody issues. If both parents want and can share custody of the children, then making the final decision will be easier. If the parents find themselves in a dispute, however, a judge will be making the custody decision. However, there are certain things the courts consider before doing this.

Courts will investigate each parent's stability when deciding on a final child custody ruling. Judges might look at how long a parent has lived at each of their addresses and how long they have kept their jobs. A parent's living situation will also be considered, including when the parents moved into their current address and how traumatic an additional move would be on the children. Courts will also look at the siblings and attempt, in most cases, to keep brothers and sisters together. In some cases, however, this might be impossible, and the judge might decide that splitting the siblings is in their best interests.

For more complicated custody cases, an advocate might be consulted by the judge to help them make a final decision. The advocate will spend time with each parent at their homes and observe the parent-child relationship. Using the advocate's reports, the judge will make a final decision. In addition, courts will look at any history of abuse. In custody disputes, judges will almost always take the side of the parent who has not caused the child any harm.

Parents who find themselves negotiating custody issues might find it beneficial to consult with a lawyer. Legal counsel can explain state laws regarding custody, help the parent prepare for court dates and provide legal representation.

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