Settling matters related to child custody can be relatively straightforward. Sometimes, co-parents can agree on suitable arrangements with little or no intervention from the family courts.
Nonetheless, this isn’t how all custody cases go. If a judge needs to step in and make decisions concerning custody, they will do so with the best interests of the child in mind. What exactly does this mean?
What the law says
The law relating to the best interests of the child in Texas is outlined in Texas Family Code – FAM § 263.307. While there is no single definition of the term, the law outlines the key factors that the court will consider when trying to determine what a child’s best interests are.
First and foremost is the safety of the child. Generally, the court prefers both parents to play an active role in the upbringing of their child. With that being said, a judge will typically not hesitate to deny custody if it would involve placing the child in any sort of danger.
One additional matter that benefits all children is consistency, and the family courts are more than aware of this. Thus, this will likely be a key factor in decision making. The court will usually try and cause as little upheaval for the child as possible. Whether or not a judge’s decisions involve the child moving homes, schools, or changing routines will all come into play during custody rulings.
These are just some of the defining factors of the best interests of the child standard. The court will also look at the child’s age, parental abilities and a host of other factors unique to a family’s circumstances. To better understand your rights as a parent – and how they may or may not play out related to the implementation of this standard – it may benefit you to seek legal guidance.