Do the Kids Get to Choose Which Parent to Live With?
It is kind of an urban myth that during a divorce children have the right to choose which parent they are going to live with.
While a Texas court will take into account a child’s wishes, child preference is just one factor a judge can look to. A Dallas child custody attorney is in the best position to discuss the particular circumstances of your divorce and child custody issues, but the following information provides some useful background before your discussion.
The Best Interests of the Child
The court’s guiding legal principle in deciding who should be the custodial parent will always be what is in the child’s “best interests.” Rather than being etched in stone, this standard is subject to interpretation. There is, however, ample guidance from prior Texas court cases to help a judge in deciding child custody issues.
Factors Affecting Child Custody
Judges know that children can be influenced by many different factors. So while the court will take the child’s wishes into account, it will also look at other factors, including:
- The current and future emotional and physical needs of the child
- The existence or possibility of any emotional and physical danger (of one parent) to the child now and in the future
- The parenting abilities of the individuals seeking custody
- Any programs available to assist these individuals to promote the best interest of the child
- Any plans each parent may have for the child
- The stability of both homes
- Any acts or omissions of a parent which may indicate that the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one; and
- Any excuses offered to explain the acts or omissions of a parent
- Whether one parent enables and promotes a friendly parenting environment for the other parent
- Who has been making the educational decisions for the children
- Who has been making the medical-related decisions
- Who generally prepares the children’s meals and feeds the children
- Which parent regularly meets with the teachers, if applicable
- Whether one parent tries to been alienate the child from the other parent
- Who gets the child up in the morning and puts the child to bed at night
- Who participates in the child’s extracurricular activities
- What a court appointed (or retained) child custody experts recommends
When to Seek Assistance From a Dallas Child Custody Attorney
Figuring out how to handle a child custody case can be daunting. Emotions run high and it is sometimes difficult to know what to do. An experienced Dallas child custody attorney understands the law and, as importantly, understands what you are going through as a parent seeking custody. He or she is in a position to step back and take an unemotional look at the circumstances of your case.
But a divorce and child custody attorney is not just a passive observer. Your attorney will be a fierce advocate for you and the well being of your children.
If you need help navigating a divorce or child custody situation, call Attorney Michael P. Granata at 214-977-9050 to make an appointment or contact us online for a consultation.