If a judge has approved your or the opposing party’s request to have a child custody evaluation conducted or has ordered one done on their own, it is logical that he or she would place a great amount of weight on this evidence.
This means that the evaluation results will be seriously considered by the judge and will likely have a tremendous impact on your child custody or divorce case. Whatever the evaluator has to say as far as recommendations are concerned will almost surely be followed by your judge.
Whatever evidence that you or your opposing party have to provide in a trial if your case makes it that far may not have much impact at all in how the judge will ultimately rule. That is how critical a child custody evaluation becomes to your case.
Best Interests of the Child
Just as your judge will be tasked with making decisions that are in the best interests of your child, so too will the child custody evaluator. While you and the opposing party may have your own concerns and circumstances that a court should be concerned with, at the end of the day, it is primarily what is best for your child that will be considered by a judge.
With that said, if you and your opposing party can negotiate on your final orders and come together to resolve your issues before trial, it will be in everyone’s best interests.
No parents are going to create final orders that do not suit their children first and foremost. Even if you feel that your opposing party is out for their own self-interest, first and foremost, you would not agree to a settlement plan that did not place your child’s interests ahead of either parent’s.
Furthermore, you and the other parent are better equipped to arrive at a settlement that considers all of the particular circumstances that distinguish your case from any other that goes before the judge.
Judges are more apt to create cookie-cutter orders based on their inability to know exactly what your family needs due to a lack of time and resources to understand your situation fully. This is not a criticism of judges; this is just human nature.
Breaking down what Best Interests of the Child means
We all have a pretty decent idea, I think, as to what is in the Best Interests of a Child. Certainly, what is in the best interest of my children may not be in the best interests of your children and vice versa. However, some overarching and common themes should apply to all children who have a family law case in Texas.
Abuse and Neglect
Being protected against abuse and neglect is probably foremost in terms of what is in the child's best interest. If we start our discussion here, we can build up other concepts that are a little more aspirational. No child should have to deal with abuse or neglect.
No excuses and no qualifications on that. A judge and child custody evaluator will look at your situation and identify if abuse or neglect has occurred. If so, recommendations and orders from the court will be set forth that do what it takes to protect your child.
Relationship with Both Parents
Secondly, the emphasis in court these days is to make sure that every child has an opportunity to have a relationship with both of their parents.
This isn’t to say that some children won’t gravitate towards one parent or the other. Still, overall the evaluator and judge will want to ensure that your child can have a good relationship, or an opportunity for one, with both you and the opposing party. If it appears that one or both of you are not doing what it takes to help further this goal, then the court will have to make orders to remedy this situation.
Parental alienation is a topic that family law attorneys, unfortunately, encounter with some regularity and will be watched for by a child custody evaluator. Part of both you and your child’s other parent is given an equal chance to develop a meaningful relationship with your child is both of you encouraging your child to spend time with each of you. It is straightforward for your child to become influenced by you or the other parent negatively if you are speaking poorly of him or her or otherwise attempting to influence their opinion.
Your child will view you and their other parent through the eyes of a child, not those of an adult. If you are sharing your adult perspective with them about how and why you and your ex-spouse are divorcing, then that will be information that not only can your child probably not understand but will surely have an effect on how he or she views each of you. This is a recipe for disaster and is not behavior that is going to benefit your child.
Taking the Time
If you do not take some time and effort to support your child's relationship with both of their parents, then a court may view this as behavior that is not conducive to acting in your child’s best interests.
Even if it is not something that you relish or get excited about, reminding your child that both parents love him or she is good for your child and your family law case.
How to prepare for a child custody evaluation- the topic of tomorrow’s blog post
Some steps that you can take to prepare for your own child custody evaluation will be the subject of tomorrow’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC.
If you have any questions about today’s post or any subject in family law, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. A free of charge consultation is available to you six days a week in which your questions and concerns can be answered by one of our licensed family law attorneys.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “Child Custody E-Book”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- 12 Texas Custody & Conservatorship Battle Tips
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Have Joint Custody of My Child in Texas?
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- Are Dads at a Disadvantage when trying to win 50/50 custody in a Texas Divorce?
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- Help!! My Ex-Spouse Kidnapped my Child
- How Much Will My Texas Child Custody Case Cost?
- When Can a Minor Child Weigh in on Custody Decisions in Texas?”
- Child Custody Geographic Restrictions in Texas
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Child Custody Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding child custody, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX child custody lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our child custody lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles child custody cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.