What Will Impact a Judge’s Decision in Regard to Where Your Child Will Primarily Reside?

What Will Impact a Judge’s Decision in Regard to Where Your Child Will Primarily Reside?

When discussing where a child should primarily reside, reaching an agreement on key issues like custody, visitation, and child support can often be a smoother process for many families. While the final arrangement might not be perfect for everyone involved, it’s understood that decisions should be centered around what’s best for the child. Everything else in the case takes a secondary role.

Fortunately for you, either option is available in Texas. Our family courts invite parents like yourself to file modification lawsuits with the understanding that doing so is not a guarantee of achieving a particular result. In order to avoid going all the way to court and not achieving your top goal in a modification case, your judge will likely require that you and your opposing party mediate your case at least once in hopes of reaching an agreement outside of court. That will free up the courtroom for other parties and will hopefully allow you and your opposing party to work together to achieve an end result that suits both of you well.

Older Children and Changing Primary Residence

In Texas, if your child custody case involves a child aged 12 or older, it’s common for parents to want their child to express where they want to primarily reside to the judge. While the law permits children of this age to share their custody preferences with the judge, it’s crucial to understand that this isn’t the sole factor in the judge’s final decision.

Judges recognize that children’s opinions can frequently change, and what they desire now might differ in the future. Therefore, a child expressing a wish to primarily reside one parent over the other doesn’t guarantee a modification in custody arrangements.

Moreover, judges aren’t obliged to ask the child specific questions about primary residence desired by the parents. Typically, judges acquire some skills in questioning children through judicial conferences, but they’re not specialized child therapists.

The court’s decision isn’t based solely on the child’s testimony. It considers the entirety of the evidence presented. The significance given to each piece of evidence varies with each judge, making it hard to predict a particular judge’s reaction to specific evidence.

In summary, while a child’s preference is a factor, it’s one of many considered by the court. Relying entirely on a child’s testimony isn’t advisable in custody cases.

What to Do in the Event That You and Your Child’s Other Parent Cannot Agree on Anything?

What Will Impact a Judge’s Decision in Regard to Where Your Child Will Primarily Reside?

When co-parenting, finding middle ground on issues like custody and child support is crucial, even if it means not being entirely satisfied with the outcome. Prioritizing your child’s best interests is essential. However, challenges arise when you and your child’s other parent disagree significantly, making consensus seem impossible.

In such cases, it’s vital to strive for cooperation. Co-parenting, a concept widely endorsed by family law experts, involves shared parenting responsibilities post-divorce. This can be tough, especially when personal feelings are involved, but it’s necessary for your children’s welfare.

Communication breakdowns are common. Minor actions or expressions can easily lead to misunderstandings. Using co-parenting websites, email, or text messages for communication can help avoid direct conflicts.

Remember, everything you communicate could potentially be used in court. Think twice before sending messages that you wouldn’t want a judge to read. Aim for clarity and kindness in your communication. Avoid rehashing past conflicts or minor issues. Being concise and ending conversations promptly can prevent misunderstandings and unnecessary disputes.

Make Sure That You Are Clear on What Your Ex-spouse Has Told You

One thing that I recommend to clients is to be willing to always re-phrase what your ex-spouse has told you and to tell it back to him or her. That way you can show that you are actively listening to him or her and are attempting to make sure you are 100% clear on what he or she is telling or asking. Do not leave a conversation guessing at what he or she meant by a certain thing that they said. Get it straight from them and then you can move on to whether or not there is an issue at hand.

Don’t Instigate

The reality is that you know what drives your ex-spouse nuts. If you didn’t know when you were married to him or her, you probably know now. With that said, you should not look to antagonize him or her about issues that arise in your co-parenting relationship. It may make you feel good at that moment, but your ex-spouse will remember that interaction. You could find yourself on the receiving end of behavior like this in the future on an issue that you really care about.

Rather than instigate, try to look out for things that your ex-spouse is doing that is beneficial for your child. If he or she allowed you to swap weekends so that you could go out of town then you should thank him or her early and often. Acknowledging their willingness to work with you can go a long way in your relationship with him or her. Making note of their good deeds and promising to return the favor can be a great thing for you to do.

Is it worth it?

Whatever issue it is that you cannot seem to agree on with your ex-spouse, you need to be the one to determine whether or not it is worth it to fight over it- whatever “it” is. It doesn’t matter ultimately if it is worth it to your ex-spouse. It takes two to tango when it comes to problems like this. If you do not engage him or her in an escalation of the disagreement there is only so far the problem can go. Remember to grow, a fire needs oxygen. If you take away your oxygen then there is a limit to how big that fire can get. Don’t get burned- save your oxygen for something more important to you.

Are You Fighting for You, or for Your Child?

This is a key thing to understand. Are you fighting to make yourself happy or to make your child happy? Is your child’s well-being hanging in the balance, or are you just looking to pick a fight with someone who is more than willing to do some back and forth with you? Remember that a judge has to make any family court decision with the best interests of your child in mind. If you had to do the same how would you change the way that you behave?

Ultimately, if you align yourself with your child’s interests on where to primarily reside first then you cannot lose. Sometimes what you want differs from what your child needs. It happens- hopefully not that often- but it happens, nonetheless. Ask yourself if you are doing something that primarily benefits your child before engaging in a disagreement with your ex-spouse.

Questions about resolving conflicts amicably? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

What Will Impact a Judge’s Decision in Regard to Where Your Child Will Primarily Reside?

If you have any questions about the material that we shared with you today, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys can schedule you for a free of charge consultation here in our office, six days a week. These consultations are a great opportunity to ask questions and receive direct feedback about your particular circumstances.

Our attorneys are given an opportunity every day to represent clients in the family courtrooms of southeast Texas. That is a responsibility that we take seriously. Our mission for each of our clients is to achieve the best result possible for each of them, by placing their interests and their families first.

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