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Basics of Child Custody

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2017 | Child Custody

When dealing with child custody, it is necessary to look at the situation as a whole of what is in the child’s best interest. Sometimes, when people are dealing with a child custody case, they get so involved with the details that fail to see what is in the child’s best interest.
As an attorney, it is important to remember to focus on the basics. The Texas Family Code reminds us that:

“The best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.”

Legal Guidance for Child Custody

More than 40 years ago, the Texas Supreme Court provided lawyers, judges and parents guidance with making this decision. The court gave the legal community a list of factors in ascertaining the best interest of the child. Those factors include:

  • The desires of the child;
  • The emotional and physical needs of the child now and in the future;
  • The emotional and physical danger to the child now and in the future;
  • The parental abilities of the individuals seeking custody;
  • The programs available to assist these individuals to promote the best interest of the child;
  • The plans for the child by these individuals or by the agency seeking custody;
  • The stability of the home or proposed placement;
  • The acts or omissions of the parent which may indicate that the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one; and
  • Any excuse for the acts or omissions of the parent.

The Supreme Court made sure to note that this list was by no means exhaustive, but does not indicate a number of considerations which either have been or would appear to be pertinent. It is important to note that desires and claims of the parents are secondary considerations. The issue is what is in the best interest of the child.

Best Interest of Child

This standard “best interest of child” is an ambiguous notion. It depends on the facts and circumstances of a particular situation. Each individual issue may be basic, but taken when looking at them together, it may create a conflict and miss focusing on the primary concern.

Temporary Orders in Child Custody

The primary consideration of the court during temporary orders is maintaining the status quo. Typically, a court will hear temporary orders soon after a case is filed. The reason for this is to establish a set of rules that the parties will follow while the case is pending.

Ultimately, the judge will make the decision on what is in the best interest of the child. It is important to remember that the temporary orders will come before the final order. Matters relating to the custody of the child can be resolved either through agreement, by the court, or jury.

Child Custody and the Status Quo

As a child custody lawyer, it is vital to remember that the court will be focusing on maintaining the status quo. If the status quo is not in your client’s best interest, then it may be better to make an agreement. One option is to delay the hearing until such time as more favorable evidence comes to light for your client.

A number of factors may get you around status quo during temporary orders. Some are: drug use, physical danger, child’s physical health, emotional development, and stability of the home.

But during temporary orders, a focus is generally on maintaining the status quo. It comes as no secret that children thrive off stability and routine. Courts do not typically interrupt that routine unless there is good cause.

The important point to remember is looking at the situation as a whole what is in the child’s best interest.

Seek Advice From Divorce or Child Custody Lawyer

If you have questions about child custody in Williamson County, call the Round Rock Law Office of Clifford Swayze at 512-920-5080. Clifford Swayze is committed to his clients and advocating for their well-being. In addition, to helping clients with divorce and family law matters, Clifford Swayze is an experienced and skilled child custody lawyer practicing in the following communities in and around Round Rock, and Williamson County, Texas:

Cedar Park, Round Rock, Leander, Georgetown, Liberty Hill, Hutto, Taylor, Killeen, Temple, Coppers Cove and Austin.