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the desires of the child;
the emotional and physical needs of the child now and in the future;
the emotional and physical danger to the child now and in the future;
the parental abilities of the individuals seeking custody;
the programs available to assist these individuals to promote the best interest of the child;
the plans for the child by these individuals or by the agency seeking custody;
the stability of the home or proposed placement;
the acts or omissions of the parent that may indicate that the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one; and
any excuse for the acts or omissions of the parent.
Best Interests of the Child
In Family Law cases, Texas Courts are tasked with ruling on what is in the child’s best interests, above all else, despite the parents' conflicts.
The Courts use the following non-exhaustive list of factors to determine what is in the children's best interest:
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Parental Alienation – Are you or your spouse guilty?
Divorce should not be a competition. What children of divorce want and need most is to maintain healthy and strong relationships with both of their parents, and to be shielded from their parents' conflicts. Some parents, however, in an effort to bolster their parental identity, create an expectation that children choose sides. In more extreme situations, they foster the child’s rejection of the other parent. In the most extreme cases, children are manipulated by one parent to hate the other, despite children’s innate desire to love and be loved by both their parents.
Parental alienation is the process, and the result, of the psychological manipulation of a child into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent and/or other family members. It is a distinctive and widespread form of psychological abuse and family violence —towards both the child and the rejected parent—that occurs almost exclusively in association with family separation or divorce, particularly where legal action is involved. The Courts will not tolerate this type of psychological abuse by either parent. Moreover, these cases can be very difficult to settle or litigate and, therefore, much more costly to the parents in a divorce.
If you believe that you may be engaged in a case involving parental alienation, you may want to seek immediate legal intervention sooner rather than later in order to begin the process of reconciliation of the child with the alienated parent.
Child Custody and Parenting Plans
If you have children and are anticipating an upcoming custody dispute, or if you are concerned about obtaining a suitable parenting plan with your children, call our office for an appointment. We are skilled at crafting workable and creative solutions for families. In addition, we will advise you as to which solutions may work best in your case and based on your facts.
Texas uses specific guidelines to calculate child support, although in rare cases the courts may deviate from these guidelines. Depending on the number of children before the court, and the number of other children for whom the obligor may be responsible for supporting, the guidelines assign a certain percentage of the obligor’s net income to be awarded for child support. In addition, the obligor is usually responsible for paying the health insurance premiums for the children, and each parent is usually responsible for paying one-half of all uninsured health costs for the children. These guidelines are subject to variance, and may be determined using a number of other factors, depending on the facts of your case.
Modifications and Relocations
Since your divorce decree was finalized, have you or your former spouse moved, taking your child along? Has your former spouse received a substantial increase in income? These issues may present a substantial change in circumstances, warranting a modification of your divorce decree so it accurately reflects the altered custody or child support arrangements. We have a thorough understanding of the Texas guidelines that may affect the outcome of your case.
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