Determining the Best Interest of the Child in a Divorce

Child custody and visitation become major points of contention during divorce proceedings. After all, you know what’s best for your child, and you want to spend as much time with them as possible.

The problem? Both parents may feel like the better parent, yet it’s not possible for each of them to have all of the time with their child. The brutal truth is that one parent will usually get to have custody more than the other and will get to spend more time with the child.

Custody decisions often have the public perception of being, “Mom will get the kids. End of story.” However, this isn’t supposed to be the case when it comes to Texas law.

When the time comes to determine custody and visitation rights, courts are technically not allowed to favor the mother or father. Instead, the judge has to weigh a variety of factors to decide what outcome would be in the best interest of the child.

What Constitutes the Child’s Best Interests?

There’s no single factor that stands above the rest when it comes to making custody and visitation decisions. However, as a result of the 1976 Texas Supreme Court case Holley v. Adams, judges have a list of “Holley factors” to help them as they make their decisions.

  • What does the child want? Do they have a preference as to which parent they live with or see more often?
  • Will the child be in any physical or emotional danger with either parent?
  • Is either parent unable to meet the child’s physical or emotional needs?
  • Does either parent provide a situation where the child would benefit from better schooling, medical facilities or other necessary places?
  • Is the home of either parent more stable or constant than the other?
  • And more

While this list is just a starting point, it’s not the only thing that helps a court make a decision. Parents can work with their attorneys to bring forward any other information or evidence that may help their case before a final decision is made.

It’s important to do everything you can to fight for custody or visitation rights before the custody plan is set in stone. Once the custody and visitation are finalized, the plan can be modified only if it can be proven that a significant change in circumstances has happened.

Get Your Free Consultation with a Parental Rights Attorney in Arlington, Texas

If you need help with family law matters such as divorce, custody and visitation, the experienced parental rights attorneys of the Schneider Law Firm are here for you.Whether you’re a mother or father, we’ll fight for your rights and help you get the best outcome for your situation. Call us today at 817.799.7125 or send us a message to request your free initial consultation.