If you and your spouse are going through a divorce, you may have concerns about who will receive custody of the children. These days, more courts recognize the benefits of having both parents in a child’s life, so awarding sole custody is not very common.
First and foremost, the courts consider what the child’s needs are when deciding on custody issues.
Factors regarding the best interests of the child
The Child Welfare Information Gateway outlines the main factors a judge considers when deciding how to grant custody:
- The ability of each parent to provide a safe and stable home as well as basic needs
- The age and physical and mental needs of each child
- The mental and physical health of each parent
- The current living situation
- The relationship between the child and each parent, siblings, family members and caretakers
- The presence of domestic violence, abuse or addiction in the home
Custody decisions in Texas
The Texas State Law Library states that the state refers to custody as conservatorship and that as long as each parent has the child’s best interests in mind, the courts name the parents as joint managing conservators. This means that the parents share responsibilities when it comes to making decisions, such as medical, educational and religious ones, about the child.
However, joint conservatorship does not necessarily mean the child will spend equal time with each parent. The judge lays out living arrangements and visitation schedules in a separate standard possession order.
Some of the reasons a judge may grant sole managing conservatorship to one parent is if there is a history of violence, abuse or criminal activity or if the other parent has been absent.