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How does a Texas judge decide the best interests of a child?

by | Apr 18, 2022 | Family Law

Many parents have a hard time picturing a happy future where they share custody with their ex. However, most parents will share parental responsibilities in accordance with Texas family laws.

The state requires that a judge focus on the best interests of the children. If the parents cannot reach an agreement about how to share parental responsibilities, how does a judge decide what is best for the children?

They must look into the family circumstances

To establish the best interests of a child, a judge needs to have at least a basic understanding of their family circumstances. Their age, health and pre-existing relationship with each parent will influence what a judge believes would be best when splitting parental responsibilities.

A child requires stability and daily structure. They need discipline and emotional support, as well as the resources necessary to make their way through their education and prepare for a family and career. Having two parents engaged in supporting a young adult will often be a better solution for a child whose parents have separated or divorced.

Judges will usually try to split responsibilities between parents unless one fails to ask for parental rights or presents evidence to the courts that shows the other parent could present a risk of harm to the children.

What scenarios might limit one parent’s rights?

If you think that your ex is unstable or you believe they will try to keep you away from the children, understanding what circumstances might influence the judge’s division of parental responsibilities can help you prepare for court.

If there is evidence that one parent has abused or neglected the children, the courts may limit their parenting time for safety’s sake. Documentation of drug abuse, alcoholism and serious health conditions could also influence custody. A parent with a physical or mental health issue that affects their ability to care for the children may ultimately receive less parenting time than someone who has no history of substance abuse or health issues that limit their parenting ability.

A parent making undocumented accusations or denying the other parent access could find their own parenting rights minimized, as the hostility and lack of co-parenting support are not in the best interests of the children.

Learning more about how the courts view custody matters can help you assert your rights as a Texas parent.