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How Do Texas Courts Decide Child Custody?

Posted on in Child Custody


Travis County family law attorneyThere are several issues that can cause significant tension between a couple going through a divorce, but the one issue that often causes the most stress is deciding what type of child custody arrangement will be made for the couple’s children. Attempting to predict how the court will rule is fairly impossible since there is such a wide array of factors the judge can consider. The only constant in any child custody case is that the court will base its decision on the best interests of the child.

Understanding What Custody Actually Is

Under Texas law, there are two types of custody that the court considers. The first is possessory conservatorship, also referred to as physical custody. Physical custody is what most often comes to mind for many people when they hear the word “custody” and means the right of the parent to have physical control over the child and where the child will live.

Managing conservatorship, also referred to as legal custody, refers to the decisions that parents need to make for their child, such as how the child will be raised, the type of education they will receive, medical decisions, religion, and more.

The court will also decide whether custody will be awarded jointly, which means the parents will share custody, or if sole custody will be awarded, which means only one parent will have custody. There are several ways the court can split up custody, including:

  • Giving both parents joint physical and legal custody.

  • Giving one parent sole physical custody and both parents joint legal custody.

  • Giving one parent sole physical custody and sole legal custody.

Factors the Court May Consider

The court has a great deal of leeway when it comes to how they award custody, as long as the final decision is truly in the child’s best interest. Some of these factors the judge may weigh in the final decision include:

  • The parents’ wishes

  • The child’s wishes (based on the child’s age)

  • The physical and mental condition of each parent

  • The child’s relationship with both parents and any siblings

  • The child’s relationship with the community of each parent

  • Any history of abuse or neglect

Contact a Travis County Family Law Attorney for Legal Help

If you are going through a divorce and facing a child custody battle, make sure you have a skilled and aggressive Austin, TX child custody lawyer advocating for you and protecting your parental rights. Call Powers and Kerr, PLLC at 512-610-6199 to schedule a confidential consultation.



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