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Make sure all custody decisions reflect kids' best interests

When it comes to child custody concerns and a Texas family law case, you must be able to put the best interests of your children first period. This is the primary concern of a family court judge and will be what the judge bases their decision making on if you get to a point where you have to ask them 2 render decisions regarding your daily life. For starters, her family court judge will look to certain criteria when it comes to what is in the best interest of your children in terms of their daily life and long-term future. A family court judge will consider a relatively small amount in your best interest compared to what is in your child's best interest.

For that reason, you need to become aware of what a judge is likely to be concerned with when looking over your case, either in a temporary orders hearing or in a final trial. Knowing what a judge looks for in your case will help you better guide yourself as you take on the challenges that are a part of a child custody or divorce case. It is difficult enough to deal with these challenges on your own. Having the stress of contested child custody issues weighing on your mind only adds to those difficulties. This is why I would like to share with you some considerations you may want to give when it comes to your child custody or divorce case.

Specifically, I am thinking about what it means from the standpoint of asking to become the primary conservator of your children. The primary conservator of your children can have your children for more time and can make decisions on a more regular basis and oftentimes with less oversight than the other parent. These are tremendous advantages for you to have as a parent and, as a result, are frequently debated in contested issues in child custody and divorce cases.

Primary conservatorship issues can be complicated for many families, given how long they can draw a case. For instance, if you are interested in becoming the primary conservator of your children, then you almost certainly we'll either have to negotiate for that with your Co-parent or wait to go through to a judge to have that issue determined finally. However, you will have ample opportunity to work with your Co-parent on these issues during your family law case. If you can learn what a judge would look to determine these problems in a courtroom, you can better gear your attitudes and negotiating preferences accordingly.

Are you likely to encourage visitation with your Co-parent?

One of the many factors that a judge will look to when determining which parent should be named as the primary conservator of your children is the degree to which you encourage your child to have a relationship with their other parent. The state of Texas believes that both parents should play an active and involved role in their child's life period to that extent. If you are the primary conservator, you will have ample opportunity in order 2 encourage your children 2 have a relationship with their other parents.

If the evidence is clear that you have gone out of your way to discourage your child from having a relationship with their other parent, then you will have difficulty with being named the primary conservator of your children. The primary conservator is charged with making decisions for your child more frequently when compared to a non-primary conservator. Still, that parent is also in a position where they can encourage their child to have a relationship with the other parent. This is a reality of being the primary conservator, and you must be able to show a judge you are willing to do so.

Can you co-parent effectively?

Coparenting is putting aside your differences with the other parent in your child's life to do what is best for them. Often this can be difficult or even painful given your history with this person. However, if you are in a position to be able to speak into your Co parent's life, then you will be much better off when it comes to trying to raise your children together. For instance, if you take the attitude of being unwilling to work with your Co-parent for whatever reason, then I think it is unlikely that you will be named the primary conservator of your children. You would need to take a lead role in developing a relationship with your Co-parent and not hold grudges or refuse to work with them.

This may mean that you need to take a step back from the situation with your Co-parent to determine how best you all can communicate with one another. For instance, many Co-parents communicate better via email or even text messaging than in person or over the phone. On the other hand, you and your Co-parent may be better off communicating using parenting websites or other digital means. Whatever your means of communication, you and your Co-parent need to be able to set aside your differences and lead your child as a cohesive unit.

Are you willing to make an effort to keep your child involved in their community?

Another factor that a family court judge will look to is your willingness to include your child in the events of their community. Keep in mind that your child ages, they will likely be more involved in extracurricular activities, school events, and even events within your neighborhood and immediate community. For that reason, you should be encouraging your child to participate in these events so that your child develops a strong sense of self and community. Parents who ignore this needed their child are not likely to be named as primary conservators.

Next, the general thought behind contacting your extended family as a child is that you need to encourage your child to become a whole person as they age. Do not underestimate the importance of your Co-parents in raising your child. Ultimately, do you want your Co-parent to be available and trustworthy since it is challenging for you to raise your child as an individual rather than as a team?

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This may seem like a silly point to make, but depending on your child's age, it will be crucial for you to show a judge that you can interact properly at an age-appropriate level with them. Younger children need to be able to look to their parents for positive reinforcement but also pet play. If you cannot do so based on your limited capacity for that type of activity or because of your work schedule, this will not be a favorite in your childcare city case.

Remember that your child learns to socialize with others through their interactions with you as their parent. The more you can interact with your child, the better off your child will be. Not only that, being able to interact with you is incredibly important for you as an adult. Do not discount your role in your child's life but do not underestimate the positive impact your child could have on your own life.

How would you handle disciplinary issues?

Another one of the most important issues that a family court judge will look to is your ability to discipline your child effectively. Many parents in child custody cases tend under discipline, thinking that doing so will assist them with currying favor with their child. This is a mistake for your child not only in the short term but also in the long term period; you need to discipline your child even when you feel like doing so could hurt your relationship. Remember that your child is your child and not your friend.

The other part of this discussion gets back to what we were mentioning a moment ago. If you can show that you are not only willing to discipline your child but that you are willing to work with your Co-parent in doing so, this is the best of both worlds. For instance, if you can show a family court judge that you have coordinated with your Co-parent on disciplinary issues and had been willing to work with them to maintain discipline from one house to the other, then that is the best of both worlds. What you want to avoid is a situation where your child plays you against your Co-parent as a means to get what they want from both of you.

Can you maintain your poise and dignity even during a child custody case?

One of the most significant challenges apparent during a family log case is to be able to maintain your dignity and control over your emotions. While it can feel good to let loose and do what feels good regarding telling your spouse or your co-parent what you think of them, that can be incredibly negative for your case. Rather, it is recommended that you talk with your Co-parent effectively and maintain your poise when around your children. So often, you're children learn more from you by watching your actions than by listening to what you say to them. This would be another example of that reality.

During a family law case, your Co-parent may often do things purposely to you to upset you or cause you to react negatively. It will be straightforward for you to let loose and go to great lengths to get revenge or pay them back. Rather, you should view any actions they do to you in the long run rather than in the short term. By keeping in mind the long-term consequences of reactions, you can not only do a lot of good for yourself but only for your children.

Are you able to roll with the punches?

One of the challenges to maintaining a strong relationship with your children and with your Co-parent during a post-divorce or post-child custody case scenario is that changes invariably come up. Some of these changes center around issues that can lead a family towards a modification of their court orders. You see situations like this arise when material and substantial changes can impact your family on a long-term basis.

Even then, you also have situations involving short-term problems that may require you and your Co-parent to put your heads together to resolve amicably. If this is a situation you and your family find yourself in, you can work together to make temporary modifications to your court orders on an informal basis. This requires not going to court but working with your Co-parent to make these modifications that will benefit your child and your Co-parent. Sometimes it requires you to be a little understanding of your Co-parent, and it always requires some degree of teamwork. However, it may mean putting aside your pride for a moment and doing what is best for everyone, although it may not be what feels good to you at the moment.

Who is in a better position to devote time to your children?

One of the most important factors that a family court judge will look to when determining child custody and divorce conservatorships issues is which parent, you or your Co-parent, is better positioned to devote time to your children. Sometimes, this is not necessarily a question of desire to spend time with your kids, but it is a functional and practical discussion, as well. For instance, your career may require you to work long hours or frequently work away from home a great deal. This doesn't mean that you are a bad parent; it's just that your role in raising your children is such that you will be required to be away from home more often than not. This may mean that you are not necessarily in the best position to take on responsibilities as the primary conservator of your children.

Additionally, this is frequently why fathers find themselves not being named as the primary conservator of the children. Specifically, fathers more often than not act as the primary earners for a family. Suppose that sounds like you, then you may have an uphill battle to be named as primary conservator. However, that does not stop you from making strong arguments and taking part in child-rearing responsibilities. Otherwise, if you are a father who works full time and still wants to be a primary conservator, you should speak to your attorney about your opportunity to present strong arguments and begin working on that aspect of your case as early as possible.

Examine why you want to be named as the primary conservator

Many parents have different motivations when it comes to being named as the primary conservator of the children. You need to be able to examine why you want to be named as primary conservator and then determine whether or not you are well situated to do so and whether or not your children stand to benefit from your being named as their primary conservator. This may mean that you have to read and examine your role in parenting the kids and your motivations for being named their primary Conservatory. Are you doing so because you think it is in their best interests or simply because you do not want your Co-parent to be named their primary Conservatory?

So often, in a Texas family law case, our thoughts and feelings can become muddled given the stresses involved. I have worked with many great parents who have done what they can to manage their expectations and emotions during a family law case, only to lose track of themselves and their motivations at various stages. This is not to criticize them, but it is intended to act as a warning for you. You need to manage your own emotions surrounding the case and look closely at yourself to determine what is in your child's best interest. If you do so and still determine that you believe that it is in your child's best interest for you to be named as primary conservator, then you should contact an experienced family law attorney.

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

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