When Texas courts award conservatorship, which is this state's name for child custody, they will do their best to try to determine the best interests of the children involved.
However, deciding what is or is not in the best interests of a child is not an easy task, particularly for a judge who likely does not know the full extent of an Austin family's situation, no matter how much he or she may try to be understanding about it.
The courts do have lists of factors, codified in Texas law, that they can and will use to help guide their decision-making in a child custody case. It is important for parents to be aware of what these factors are, as they can give important clues as to what sort of evidence a Texas judge would expect to hear from each parent during a custody proceeding.
When it comes to deciding whether to give both parents decision-making authority over their children, or a joint managing conservatorship, one of the court's major concerns will be whether and to what extent the two parents can get along with each other. As part of the order, the court may consider the wishes of an older child, particularly with respect to which parent will have the right to choose where the child lives. The court may also consider which of the two parents has, historically, been involved in and made the important decisions in the child's life.
Likewise, while Texas has what is called a standard possessory order that sets out parenting time for the hypothetical average family, a judge can consider a number of listed factors and decide to deviate from this standard in order to protect the child's best interests.
A parent in the Austin area who has questions about how a court will decide what is in the best interests of his or her children should consider speaking with an experienced family law attorney.