Texas, like all states, maintains its own standards for how its courts determine a child’s best interests in a custody negotiation. If you are approaching a custody negotiation, or if you are already engaged in one, understanding how Texas undertakes this process can help you form a parenting plan with your spouse that truly keeps the child at the center of the matter.
Some of the particulars of Texas custody law deal strictly with terminology. The Lone Star State chooses to use the term “conservatorship” when referring to custody of a child. If possible, the state prefers for parents to work together to create and submit their own conservatorship plan to be approved by the court. This is founded on the belief that parents are most able to be their best selves and abide by a conservatorship plan that they themselves have created. Ideally, this will lead to the best life for the child.
If a conservatorship plan cannot be created by the parents, or if the plan that is presented is deemed inappropriate for the child in question, the court may create a plan modifying the proposed plan according to several standards. These include, but are not limited to, what is best for the child’s social, mental and physical wellbeing, as well whether or not the court believes that the parents are capable of communicating with each other on the child’s behalf. It is also worth considering if the parents are able to encourage each other’s relationship with the child. Other factors, such as each parent’s demonstrated ability to support the child, and the geographical location of each parent’s residence are also considered.
Constructing a conservatorship plan for your child is not an easy task, especially when emotions get tied up in practical decisions. If you believe that you are ready to create the best conservatorship plan for your family, the guidance of an experienced attorney can help you navigate this difficult area with confidence.
Source: Findlaw, “Texas Child Custody Laws,” accessed Nov. 16, 2016