When it comes to child custody, under Texas family law both divorcing parents begin the process with equal rights to custody of their child or children. Texas law sets the standard to determine child custody based on the “best interests of the child.” This is the standard the court will use to decide custody of your child or children.
It is important to remember that you will not be able to present a strong custody case unless you can show how having custody will be in the child or children’s best interest. Any statements or actions by a parent that may be interpreted by a judge as being in a parent’s interest rather than the child’s best interest can do you more harm than good.
The purposes of Texas family law are to: assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child; provide a safe, stable, and non-violent environment for the child; and encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the divorce.
Focusing on your child or children’s best interests rather than your own can have a practical effect on various life decisions you make and actions you take outside the courtroom, sometimes without you even being aware it. For example, following are two common actions to avoid:
1. Do not move away
You may be considering a move away from your former spouse. Such a move would rarely be viewed by a judge as in the best interests of the child. It could even backfire, with the judge tending to view such a move as expressing your own best interest rather than that of your child(ren).
2. Do not criticize your ex-spouse around your children
Divorcing parents must be aware of the damage that they can cause to their custody case by criticizing or ‘bad-mouthing’ their former spouse in front of their child or children. Such emotionally negative behavior is damaging to both parent and child or children. It may also be interpreted negatively by a judge assessing your parenting ability.
An experienced child custody attorney will make sure that your statements and actions are focused on the child’s interests, not your own interests as a parent. Knowledgeable child custody attorneys at the law firm of Lovelace Law know from years of experience what to tell a judge based on what the judge wants to hear, rather than what your emotions may lead you to say, and are ready to help you in your child custody case.
If you have any additional questions regarding child custody, call our office at 817-953-9656 to make an appointment with Cade Lovelace or Jennifer Lovelace or fill out the form on the right for a free consultation.