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Child custody court decisions are based on the best interest test

In Texas, child custody is often referred to as a "conservatorship." Texas child custody law contains a presumption that the parents should be granted a joint managing conservatorship. This involves the sharing of equal management and possessory rights in the children and their upbringing. This is essentially the same thing as joint or shared custody concepts that are applied in other states.

Shared or joint custody is the presumed preference in over half of the states at this time. The trend going forward favors the continued expansion of the joint custody preference. Joint custody has taken official preference due to the publication of many studies that have shown that children who have both parents active in their upbringing are generally more mentally and emotionally secure than those who have only one parent engaged in their lives.

However, where one of the parents is incapable or unwilling to share equally in these responsibilities, the family law court has the discretion to enter other forms of child custody arrangements. When making that decision, the court is mandated to determine what living and management relationship would be in the best interest of the children. The best interest test depends on fact-finding regarding numerous issues that are investigated about each parent's parental ability.

The court will often enter an award that grants sole physical custody to one parent who is the primary custodial parent. In that traditional setup, the non-custodial parent is granted a certain amount of visitation time each week or every two weeks. Where a parent has a record of abusiveness or other mental or personality disorder, visitation may be restricted to supervised visits only, at least until the parent can prove stability and the commitment to the responsible upbringing of the children. In all Texas decisions concerning child custody, the courts are required to decide the right arrangement that is consistent with the best interest of the children.

Source:, "In Win For Fathers' Rights, Kentucky Says Judges Must Presume Shared Parenting In Child Custody Battles", Elizabeth Nolan Brown, May 17, 2018

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