As a resident of Texas who finds yourself involved in a child custody case, you will undoubtedly hear the term “the best interests of the child” referenced regularly throughout court proceedings. While, in some cases, it is relatively easy for courts to determine which parent or person seeking custody would provide a better environment for a child, in other situations, both people seeking custody may prove suitable guardians.
Therefore, the courts needed to come up with a way to make custody decisions that consider the best interests of the child, as opposed to the bad things two parents or potential guardians might have to say about one another. So, what exactly does a judge or court consider when trying to determine the best interests of a child?
“Best interests of the child” criteria
Often, judges who have to settle child custody matters will consider what are known as Holley factors before making custody-related decisions. There are a number of different Holley factors a judge may decide to take into account depending on the circumstances, one of which, depending on the child’s age, is the child’s own desires.
Obviously, younger children are unable to make well-thought-out decisions when it comes to which parent or potential guardian they would like to live with, but there are numerous other considerations judges may take into account in such a scenario. For example, the judge or court will likely look at each parent or potential guardian’s ability to support the emotional, developmental, social and financial needs of the child in question. Courts will likely also consider whether each party seeking custody has the means and ability to provide a safe, stable home for the child. Other areas of consideration will depend largely on the age of the child at the center of the custody case.
Ultimately, the main goal of the judge is to make sure that a child has a safe, secure place to live and grow, and considering the best interests of a child helps accomplish this.