No two families are the same. No two divorces are the same either. Naturally, when children are involved, no two custody cases are identical. However, in any child custody agreement, the priority remains the same, and that priority is the well-being of the child or children.
In Texas, most parents are given the opportunity to decide what is best for their child in terms of custody. This may be a decision that is very clear to both parents and not contested. If the arrangement leads to feuding, a mediator or attorneys can be brought in to work out a negotiation.
If the divorcing couple are unable to reach an agreement involving their children after this, the court will take many factors into account to determine and include in the divorce decree, who will receive custody of the child or children.
Many factors typically go into the determination of physical custody. Essentially, the fitness of a parent is determined by considering the health of the parent. This extends beyond physical health and includes mental well-being. Stemming from that, whether a parent can provide a stable home environment, free of abuse, free of excessive discipline and free of unhealthy vices such as alcohol, drug or sex abuse. If the child has a preference for where he or she should live, this will be taken into account. The child’s age and gender and relationships with other members of each parent’s new household as well as external familial support.
If you have children and are contemplating a divorce, it may be in your best interests to proactively consult an attorney and prepare for any surprises regarding custodial arrangements.