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The Best Interest of the Child standard in Texas

In many divorce cases in San Antonio, men may enter the child custody stage of their proceedings thinking that they have little to no shot of being awarded custody of their kids. Statistics seems to back up this assumption. According to DivorcePeers.com, mothers are awarded sole custody in an average of 72 percent of cases nationally.

The legal philosophy followed when determining child custody is to rule in the best interest of the children involved. In most states, family courts have developed their own standard in determining with which parent that would lie.

In Texas, many family law experts point to the ruling issued by the state Supreme Court in the 1976 custody case of Holley v. Adams as having established the state’s standard for determining best interest. It sets the first three factors used to determine this as:

  •          The child’s desires
  •          His or her current and future emotional and physical needs
  •          Any dangers he or she may face now or in the future

Only after these points are considered do the parents enter the equation. The next factor focuses on their individual parental abilities. After that the court then looks at any assistance that may be available to parents that would help support the child’s best interests. Next are the plans each parent would have if awarded custody, followed by the stability of the environment that they would provide. Finally, the court considers any actions on the parents’ parts that would call their parenting skills into question, and the reasons behind those actions.

In many cases, the mother is determined to be the one that best fits the standard. Fathers hoping to present a good case for custody may do well to consider how they fulfill these factors. 

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