When two married parents obtain a divorce in the state of Texas, they must make arrangements for the care and nurturing of their child or children. Their right to maintain physical custody of their child will be subject to compromise, as will their right to make important decisions for their offspring. Whether they arrive at new arrangements between themselves through negotiation and mediation or their divorce goes to trial, the court will have a responsibility to review their decision and be certain that the best interests of the child are being met.
Some of the most important questions the court will ask relate to the physical and emotional health of the child. Any special needs that they may have should be provided for in an appropriate manner. Allegations or proof of emotional, physical or sexual abuse, excessive discipline or a harmful environment will be taken seriously. Although the preferred outcome of a divorce is joint custody of the child, the court will often refuse to grant full rights to a parent that has demonstrated harmful or unreliable behavior.
Continuity of their home, religious and school experiences will also be sought. The best interests of the child include a minimum of disruption. Close family connections with people such as the grandparents or the siblings will be encouraged when possible. Children over a certain age may also be asked to express their wishes as to their living arrangements.
The assistance of a lawyer may be welcome in any custody dispute. Their perspective can be valuable as a parent attempts to demonstrate what the best interests of their child may be and how they may help to fulfill them.
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway , “Determining the Best Interests of the Child“, December 04, 2014