Whenever a court makes a decision directly impacting children, the law requires the judge to decide according to the child’s best interests. Determining the best interests of a child in The Colony is subjective, as the judge has the discretion to give various factors whatever weight seems appropriate.

Even though it is impossible to predict how a judge will decide, understanding the factors they must consider could help parents as they negotiate custody, visitation, and child support issues. Keeping these factors in mind could help ensure that the judge approves of the agreements the parents negotiate.

If you and your co-parent need help negotiating a parenting plan, a child custody attorney in The Colony is here to help. A lawyer could help you apply the best interest standard to your negotiations, so you can design an arrangement that works for you and allows your children to thrive.

The Best Interest Standard

When parents decide to live separately, they must agree on how to divide time with their children, how they make important decisions as parents, and how much child support the children will receive. Once the couple has agreed, they submit their proposal to the judge, who must approve it. When couples cannot decide on one or more of these issues, a judge decides for them.

The judge must evaluate any plan the parents negotiate to determine whether it meets the children’s best interests. They must apply the same criteria when asked to decide on:

The best interest standard applies to any judge’s decision regarding a child’s living arrangements.

The law presumes that certain decisions are in a child’s best interests. For example, it presumes that joint conservatorship, the standard possession agreement, and the child support guidelines all work to support the children’s best interests. However, a parent could overcome these legal presumptions by working with an attorney in The Colony to present evidence that another arrangement is in the child’s best interest.

Criteria to Determine a Child’s Best Interest

Courts determine the child’s best interests by considering what will best position them to reach their physical, emotional, and educational potential. These factors may vary depending on the issue the judge is deciding. An attorney in The Colony could provide guidance about the matters a court might focus on when determining the best interests of a child.

For example, if considering whether to adopt joint conservatorship, Texas Family Code §153.134 directs judges to consider:

  • Whether the parents can prioritize the children’s welfare and make joint decisions for the children’s benefit
  • Each parent’s participation in child rearing before the separation
  • The parents’ ability to encourage and support the child’s relationship with the other parent
  • The wishes of a child over 12

The law allows the judge to consider any other factor that seems relevant to the decision.

Parents sometimes have trouble distinguishing between a child’s best interests and their own. For example, a parent might have a job offer in a distant city and want to move with their child. The job pays well and offers the parent and child the chance to raise their standard of living. However, a court could decide that a more affluent life is an insufficient reason to move a child away from their friends, school, and co-parent if the child benefits from these relationships.

Speak To an Attorney About Determining the Best Interests of a Child in The Colony

If you and a co-parent are negotiating conservatorship, child support, or thinking of modifying an agreement that affects your children, you must prioritize your child’s best interests. Determining the best interests of the child in The Colony can be complex, but an experienced local attorney could help.

Contact a custody lawyer in The Colony for help creating agreements that a judge is likely to approve. Call our firm today to schedule a consultation.

Meet Matt Towson

Our Law Firm’s approach to your case is based on individual circumstances. Whether it is a simple negotiated settlement, or it requires an aggressive approach, we will protect and defend your best interests.

Meet Matt Towson
Meet Matt Towson
Meet Matt Towson