There is a common misconception that the courts give preference to mothers over fathers in conservatorship or access disputes (also known as legal or physical custody disputes). That might once have been true, but it is not the case anymore. The laws in Texas have changed with the times. Now the courts determine conservatorship and access to a child based on the child’s best interests. To be successful in a dispute, you must prove to the court that spending time with your child would benefit them.
The child’s best interests
The child’s best interests could be interpreted in very different ways. Does that mean that the parent with the most money gets conservatorship? Or the parent that the child chooses? The answer is no. To determine the child’s best interests, the courts consider many different factors to make a fair decision. Some of the factors that are relevant to a conservatorship and access case are:
- The physical and emotional needs of the child now and into the future
- The physical and mental health of each parent
- The time each parent can spend with the child
- The cooperation between the parents
- Each parent’s understanding and involvement with the child’s needs
- The child’s preference (if they are old enough to make such a decision)
- Any history of domestic violence
The courts will review your, your ex’s, and your child’s circumstances to make the decision that benefits your child the most. Keep in mind that even if the courts give conservatorship or access rights to the other parent, you may be able to ask the court for a modification in the future.
Your rights as a parent
The courts won’t favor one parent over the other in the process. You have the same chances to prove that you are a good parent and worthy of getting conservatorship of your child as the child’s other parent does. With the correct arguments and defense, you can reduce the probability of losing the priceless relationship you have with your child.