When two people divorce and children are involved, the custody of the children become the primary issue as to how a divorce will be settled. Determining child custody is a difficult process, and courts will take many factors into consideration before approving child custody rights.
Best Interests of the Children Come First
Overall, the guiding principle that courts use is putting the best interests of the children above all else. Courts take many factors into consideration when they deliberate on parenting plans, visitation rights, and which parent should receive primary custody. While many things come into play, they are all generally centered around the children’s happiness and security as well as the children’s mental, physical, and emotional well being. As such, some of the more important issues that are considered include:
- Continuity of schooling
- Continuity of providing health services
- Which parent can provide a more stable home environment
- Cultural considerations
- Religious considerations
- The physical and mental health of each parent
- Childcare issues
- Transportation issues
- Pre-existing issues involving domestic violence or child abuse
- Pre-existing issues involving drug or alcohol abuse
- Visitation challenges due to scheduling or distance issues
In those cases where a child is old enough to express a preference as to which parent they want to stay with, the courts will also give this primary consideration as well.
If a Child Custody Battle Turns Negative
More often than not, child custody issues can become heated and emotional affairs. When a child custody in Mansfield battle turns ugly, it is not uncommon for one parent or the other to begin fabricating stories or overly accentuate the negatives of a home environment.
One of the biggest challenges a child custody attorney will have is refuting those accusations or completely disproving them. By doing so, they can actually put the other parent in a negative light, working against them in the final determination.
Obviously, the best course of action is to try and find compromise prior to entering court, and that can take place if both parents are in agreement that the children should not be used as pawns in the divorce.
The Hixson Law Firm serves clients in Mansfield, Arlington, Grand Prairie and other nearby Texas communities.