If you are getting a divorce and share children with your spouse, determining how to split parenting could be one of your biggest challenges.
If left to a court, the child’s best interests would be the overriding factor in any decision. But what does that mean? Your opinion of what is in your child’s best interests might be very different from that of your spouse.
Here are some of the factors a Texas court will use to interpret this phrase:
Anything that could lead to harm to the child
If one of you has a history of violence or substance abuse, these would be uppermost in the judge’s mind. Any serious mental or physical health problems will also be taken into consideration, as however loving you are toward your child, it could affect your ability to care for them.
What the child wants
Judges may listen to children who wish to voice an opinion above a certain age, but it does not mean they will grant them their wish. The older and more capable of decision-making the child seems, the more likely their wishes are to hold weight in the judge’s eyes. But they will be aware that parents can manipulate children, and kids don’t necessarily understand the full consequences of any choice they express.
Your respective parenting abilities
Some people find parenting a massive struggle, while others seem to be naturals. Most parents sit somewhere in between those two extremes, and a judge will want to better understand your abilities. They are not expecting perfection, as most parents make a lot of mistakes; they just want to know you can do a reasonable job.
Other factors could play into this, for example, the support you have from family or friends and the flexibility and stability your job allows you. Those are just some of the things a judge will look at. It’s wise to learn more so you can evaluate whether pushing for a greater share of parenting is what is best for your child.