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What factors do courts use to assess a child’s best interests?


Child custody battles have the potential to be incredibly painful and stressful for adults. After all, their parenting time and rights are at stake. However, child custody cases are about figuring out what is in the best interests of your child. Your child’s needs and wants will be the most important thing, as opposed to your wants and needs.

With all this in mind, it can be helpful to understand what the courts take into consideration when they are assessing what is in the best interests of your child. Below, we look at three types of factors that the courts will examine when creating or approving a child custody plan in Texas. 

Emotional factors

  • What does the child need to feel loved and supported?
  • Is there are history of emotional, sexual or physical abuse? Will the child be able to receive counseling?
  • How does the child feel about living with the parent?

Physical factors

  • Does the child feel safe?
  • Has the child been (or will the child be) exposed to harmful situations or people?
  • Would the child have access to his or her support system of friends, family and the other parent?

Parental capabilities

  • Does the parent demonstrate adequate parenting skills?
  • Does the parent express a desire to form and nurture a relationship with the child?
  • Is the parent willing and able to prioritize the child’s needs and provide a positive environment?

These are all crucial factors in determining if parents should have custody and what a suitable balance of parenting time might look like. As you can see, they are all related to ensuring a child is safe and supported, physically and emotionally. 

If you have questions or concerns about any potential issues that could affect custody of your child, it is critical that you discuss them with an attorney.

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