It is no secret that divorce is emotionally draining for everyone. If you share a child with your soon-to-be ex, one of the most important yet difficult discussions you will have is your child’s post-divorce living arrangements. Ideally, Texas child custody laws prefer that you settle this matter on your own without involving a third party like the court.
However, it is not uncommon for parents to agree on a co-parenting plan. In this case, the court may have to step in. While issuing a custody and visitation ruling, the court will be guided by the doctrine of the best interests of the child. But what exactly does this mean?
Understanding the doctrine of the best interests of the child
Basically, there is no standard definition for the “best interests of the child.” Rather, this refers to a set of principles that will be best for the child’s physical, psychological and emotional well-being under a given set of circumstances.
Here are some of the factors the court will consider when determining what is in the best interests of the child:
Evidence of each party’s parenting ability
The court will assess each parent’s sincere ability to meet the child’s needs. Broadly speaking, this refers to each parent’s ability to provide food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, education and general parental guidance.
Evidence of the child’s safety
The child’s safety (physical and emotional) is extremely important to the court. Thus, each parent’s physical, mental and emotional health is closely scrutinized when assessing their fitness for custody and/or visitation. For instance, a parent who poses a threat to the child’s safety would most often be awarded supervised visitation rather than full custody.
In your child best interests
Child custody can be contentious both during and after the divorce. Learning more about Texas family law can help you safeguard your child’s best interests when litigating custody.