When a couple divorces, numerous critical issues must be resolved. However, there are few more important than child custody matters.
For those divorcing couples with children, it’s essential to understand what factors the court will look at when determining child custody.
The Conservatorship Concept
Texas family courts refer to child custody as conservatorship. The courts will award conservatorship either jointly (to both parents, known as Joint Managing Conservators) or to one parent (in what is labeled Sole Managing Conservator).
When individuals are awarded joint conservatorship, each parent is expected to execute the responsibilities associated with raising the child/children in question. That said, even in joint conservatorship, one parent typically possesses physical custody of their offspring.
Parting spouses awarded joint conservatorship are encouraged to work out a parenting plan that lays the groundwork for such issues like visitation as well as educational, financial, and health-related matters. If the separating spouses are unable to reach a suitable agreement, a court will make such determinations.
Sole conservatorship means that only one parent is given the sole responsibility for the child. However, in most instances, courts encourage joint conservatorship unless one parent has proven either incapable or unwilling to carry out the functions of parenthood.
Factors That Courts Weigh When Determining Child Custody
A court’s primary objective is to make a custody agreement that is in the best interest of the child. Courts might consider numerous factors when deciding child custody arrangements, including:
- The income and financial stability of both parents
- The mental and physical health of the parting spouses
- Which parent is deemed best suited to provide for the child’s current physical and emotional needs
- Availability of each parent
The court will also often consider the wishes of the child. That said, in Texas, the child must be at least 12-years-old in order for the court to consider their opinion on the subject.
The Benefits of Retaining a Family Law Attorney
Ironing out a fair agreement dictating the responsibilities of each spouse, as well as creating fair visitation schedules, often takes the patience and negotiation skills an experienced attorney possesses. Additionally, a child custody lawyer may prove beneficial in fostering a negotiated parenting plan between parting spouses granted joint conservatorship.
The experienced family law attorney at Benouis Law has years of experience representing families with children. Attorney Catherine Benouis will help you create a joint custody agreement, protect your rights in court, or anything in between.
Child custody matters can be amongst the more complicated and trying issues related to divorce. Get the best possible representation on your side.
Contact Benouis Law at 512-764-3932 to discuss your case today.