When you are going through a divorce, and a child is involved, the process is different because there are additional procedures that are required under Texas law. Below, we’ll consider how courts in Texas make custody decisions to help you be better informed about the process. The process can get complicated, however, and there is a lot on the line, so you always want to speak with an attorney who can help you with your divorce and related child custody proceedings. Connect with a Sugar Land child custody lawyer at the office of Jamie Jordan, PLLC, to discuss your situation today.
A “Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship” is Essential to Determine Custody
Under the Texas Family Code, when a divorce is being processed involving minor children, it is essential that a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) be part of the case. Either of the child’s parents or their guardians may initiate this suit, which is a necessary part of divorce proceedings. Within this process, the court initiates a proceeding in which the interests of the child are considered in relation to options for dividing conservatorship, possession, and access (what Texas calls custody) rights between the parents.
The Child’s Best Interests are the Primary Concern of the Court in the SAPCR
When deciding how to determine conservatorship after the divorce, the court first looks to the best interests of the child. This is a term that is applied to the overall well-being of the child, which includes their:
- Social development
- Educational development
- Links to their community
- Relationships with each parent
- Any risks of one parent
- The health and abilities of each parent
- Overall stability
The court can examine many factors to determine what is in the child’s best interests, including any factors that are relevant to a unique situation.
Child custody decisions are based on the child’s safety and well-being, first and foremost, over the parents’ rights. If a parent has been charged with domestic abuse, they might lose conservatorship rights and might only have supervised visitation. When both parents have the financial stability and space to provide for the well-being of the child, parents often share conservatorship rights.
In some situations, the court might ask the child for their opinion. Once a child has reached the age of 12 in Texas, the courts may ask what they prefer when deciding on which home to make the primary residence of the child. However, the court will not necessarily adhere to the child’s wishes, but the judge will simply take their wishes into account along with other factors.
Connect with a Sugar Land Child Custody Attorney Now
The best interests of your child are at the forefront of custody proceedings in your divorce. The outcome will depend on how the family court examines and interprets the specific circumstances of your case. To discuss your situation and possible options for custody with a Sugar Land child custody attorney, schedule a consultation with Jamie Jordan, PLLC, today.