Texas parents who are in child custody disputes should be aware that the decisions courts make regarding child custody are based on what is in the best interest of the children. This standard means that the custody arrangement that will be ordered will best address the needs of the children. There are multiple factors that will be considered by the court before a decision is made, and they in some cases vary from state to state.
Usually, the court will consider any evidence that pertains to parenting ability. The parent who is requesting custody will have to be able to adequately address the emotional and physical needs of the children. These needs include shelter, medical care, loving support, food, clothing and overall parental guidance. The mental and physical well-being of the parents are also factored in when the type of custody arrangement that is best for the children is being decided. Consistency is another important factor that the family court will evaluate. The ideal arrangement will provide the best chances for the children to have consistent routines regarding living arrangements, child care, school and access to extended family members.
The ages of the children also have to be considered. Generally, younger children will require more direct care than older ones. The relationship between each of the parents and the children will also be evaluated. In cases in which there are younger children, the courts tend to favor the parent who has been the primary caregiver.
A family law attorney may work to protect the rights and interests of a parent who is embroiled in a child custody dispute. In some cases, the attorney can help negotiate a mutually-acceptable agreement that can be submitted to the court for its approval.