In a divorce that involves children, one of the most commonly and hotly contested issues is child custody,1 which is referred to as “conservatorship” under Texas Family Law.2 The general principle guiding courts when making decisions regarding child custody is that their decision must be in the best interests of the child, and the is a presumption that appointing parents as joint conservators (awarding joint custody) is in the best interests of the child. In some case, however, the court may deem that it is in the best interests of the child to appoint one parent as sole conservator.
Texas Courts Have Significant Discretion in Child Custody Decisions
Texas law allows courts to consider any factor the court deems appropriate in making child custody decisions, giving judges significant discretion. Some of the factors a court may consider when deciding whether or not to order a joint conservatorship include the following:
- whether the physical, psychological, or emotional needs and development of the child will benefit from the appointment of joint managing conservators;
- the ability of the parents to give first priority to the welfare of the child and reach shared decisions in the child’s best interest;
- whether each parent can encourage and accept a positive relationship between the child and the other parent;
- whether both parents participated in child rearing before the filing of the suit;
- the geographical proximity of the parents’ residences;
- if the child is 12 years of age or older, the child’s preference, if any, regarding the person to have the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child; and
- any other relevant factor
Because courts have such wide latitude in making custody decisions. is critical for anyone who is involved in a child custody dispute to retain an attorney familiar with representing people in similar situations. In some cases, it may be necessary to gather and present evidence either establishing your fitness as a parent or disputing the fitness of your child’s other parent. An attorney will thoroughly evaluate your case and determine how best to go about maximizing your chances of getting the child custody arrangement you want.
Call a Katy, Texas Divorce Attorney Today to Schedule a Consultation
If you are going through a divorce in which child custody is a contested issue, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The Vendt Law Firm, PLLC provides aggressive family law defense representation that gets our clients results. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 832-276-9474.