No. When the courts begin the process of selecting custodial parents, numerous factors are taken into consideration and oftentimes, what’s known as “joint custody” is granted so that both parents have custody. Texas child custody laws stipulate joint custody (also referred to as shared or split custody) as a viable option when couples separate.
In joint custody arrangements, both parents will share either physical custody or legal custody, or both. Physical custody refers to with whom the child lives, while legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions for the child regarding healthcare, education, and more.
Selecting Custodial Parents by Child’s Best Interests
The courts always attempt to make decisions based on the best interests of the child. When making custody decisions, the following may be considered:
- age and health (both physical and mental) of the children and the parents;
- lifestyle factors;
- parents’ intention to encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent;
- parents’ income and ability to provide emotional and physical support;
- the parent-child relationship; and
- the child’s preference (but only after a certain age is reached).
Recognizing Rights Despite Gender Differences
It’s also important to recognize that gender is not necessarily a factor in Texas child custody laws. No state requires that the courts grant custody to one parent solely based on gender. If you are concerned about your legal rights during your divorce, it’s highly advisable to discuss your case with a child custody attorney.
If you want more help outside your lawyer’s offerings, the Office of the Attorney General maintains an online directory of programs and service providers across Texas that focus solely on helping parents share responsibilities after their divorce.
Obtaining Counsel about Texas Child Custody Laws
It’s natural to have many questions running through your mind during this difficult time. Warren & Migliaccio stand ready to listen to your concerns and help advocate for your rights as a parent. Contact us today for an initial consultation regarding the process of selecting the custodial parent. Call (888) 584-9614.