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Where do your children's "best interests" lie in your divorce?

Like most conscientious parents, you work hard to help keep your children healthy in mind, body and soul. Parenting is a rewarding but daunting task. You're not naive enough to think your upcoming divorce is not going to affect your kids in any way. Perhaps you've been reading articles or books about how to help children fare well when their parents decide to end their marriages.

Your children are your main priority in life. The court agrees that you should do everything possible to set the tone for success as you help your children adapt to a post-divorce lifestyle. Your children's best interests are of paramount importance to the court in all decisions regarding custody, visitation and support. The problem is that parents often disagree on the interpretation of "best interest."

Factors the court may use to guide its decisions regarding your kids

The term "best interest" is subjective in that interpretations of a particular circumstance may vary. For instance, you may believe it is best if your children keep going to the same school after you divorce; your former spouse may disagree. The court steps in as the final voice of authority if parents can't negotiate a solution to a child-related problem in divorce.

The following list includes information about how the court assesses such issues:

  • One of the court's ultimate goals is to help you maintain your children's mental, emotional and physical well-being and development as they progress through life after their parents' divorce.
  • Depending on the ages of your children, the court may ask their opinions regarding certain matters, such as where they'd like to live or whether there is any issue that would make spending time with a particular parent a detriment to them in some way.
  • Stability is a major concern of the court concerning children of divorce. If there is no reason to disrupt your children's current routines, the court may be unlikely to do so.
  • The court will also consider your own mental and physical health, as well as that of your former spouse, before making any final decisions regarding the care and upbringing of your children.

Arm yourself with information and support ahead of time

To avoid major legal problems regarding child custody, visitation or support, you can seek clarification, in advance, regarding state and federal laws concerning these matters in divorce. Many Texas parents turn to experienced family law attorneys to help them negotiate fair parenting plans and to litigate any issues that might impede their ability to act in their children's best interests.

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