HOW DO TEXAS COURTS DECIDE PRIMARY CUSTODY
The primary consideration of the court is the best interest of the child when determining custody and access to the child. The best interest of the child can be that the child has frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown to have the child’s best interest; provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child.
Courts consider the following factors when deciding custody:
• The parenting abilities of each parent
• If there is evidence of abuse or neglect
• The physical health of each parent
• The child’s preferences
• The parent’s ability to provide for the child
• The child’s needs
When a custody order is issued, it will usually include a standard possession order (SPO) that schedules each parent’s time with the child. The SPO includes where the parents will meet to exchange the child and where the child will spend holidays. Basic SPOs allow the noncustodial parent to have possession of the child for a few hours every Thursday night; spend the first, third, and fifth weekends of each month with the child; alternate which holidays they will spend with the child; and spend one month in the summer with the child.
Parents can create a customized schedule as long as both parents agree to it. When parents don’t stick with the schedule they create, it can start to affect the child’s time with the other parent.