Child custody often results in a parent vs. parent struggle, but the real question that needs to be asked is what is the best interest of the child? Child custody proceedings are often some of the most difficult proceedings even under the best circumstances and can leave many parents confused and scared. The lawyers at Duckworth & Ray, L.L.P., understand the struggle and burden child custody proceedings put on the parent, and are able to use their expertise and knowledge to help obtain the best outcome for both the parent and the children in question.
In Texas, the overarching question in regards to child custody is, what is the best interest of the child? The courts have great discretion when determining this, but often look to various factors. These factors can include:
- The child’s wishes,
- The current and future emotion and physical needs of the child,
- The existence or potential existence of any current or future emotional or physical danger to the child.
- Each parties parenting abilities
- The stability of the proposed home
Joint custody preserves the rights to make decisions in the matter of the child’s health and lives.
In the State of Texas, there is a preference towards joint custody, and the preference is for parents to share as equally as possible in the custody of the child. A shared or joint custody means that both parents are included in the upbringing and raising of the child. This means that both parents are permitted to make various decisions for the child. These decisions can include medical decisions and educational decisions.
There are two common types of joint custody. The more common form of joint custody is known as Joint Legal Custody. Joint Managing Custody exists when both parents share equally in the decision making of the child’s life, but the child lives predominately with only one of the parents. The second, less common, form of joint custody is known as Joint Possessory Custody, and this exists when the parents equally share in both decision making and time of possession. This form of custody is often times more practically difficult to fulfill, and thus less common than Joint Managing Custody.
In Texas, the continual question is, “what is in the best interest of the child?” The prevailing presumption in Texas is for a Joint Managing Conservatorship, however, circumstances may sway this. Presumption.
If it is deemed that a parent is unfit to parent the children, then the opposing parent may be order to have Sole Custody of the child. Sole Custody will give that parent exclusive power over possession and decision making regarding the child’s life.