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What are the 'best interests of the child?'

Are you negotiating a child custody agreement as part of your divorce, or are you or your co-parent seeking changes to the agreement you have in place? When judges make a decision on or give approval to an agreement or requested modifications to it, they will be considering what's in the "best interests of the child."

That's the primary focus of child custody and visitation-related laws throughout the country. There is no one definition of that standard. Even within states and jurisdictions, judges will interpret it differently based on each unique family situation.

However, no matter where your case is being decided, most judges want both parents to have a relationship with their children as long as it doesn't harm a child's safety, health or well-being.

Following are some of the key factors that judges in Texas look at when determining a parent's ability to care for their child:

  • Is the parent able to care for the child?
  • How stable is the parent's home?
  • Is the child likely to be in any physical or emotional danger with a parent -- either immediately or in the future?
  • If the child is old enough to have a say, what are their wishes?

Whether you are trying to make a case that you should have greater custody rights than your co-parent or you're working to regain custodial rights you lost in the divorce, you can help your case by presenting evidence and possibly witnesses who will testify on your behalf. Perhaps you have made changes that make your situation different than it was when you lost custody (for example, going into a recovery program to deal with an alcohol or drug issue). Whatever the situation, your attorney can help you make the strongest possible case.

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Weinman & Associates, P.C.
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Austin, TX 78759

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