Will I Get Sole Custody?

No case is the same, yet I can assure you, a judge scrutinizes the following:

1. Parents' ability to COPARENT- communicate cordially, cooperate and be flexible in matters relating to the child(ren).

2. Parents' unwillingness to allow visitation that is not based upon substantiated abuse.

3. Preference of the child(ren) -significantly more so if the child is 12 or older.

4. Any history of domestic violence or police involvement for family violence.

5. Any history of child abuse or CPS investigations.

6. Interactions and relationship of the child(ren) with its parents and siblings.

7. Parents' new girlfriend or boyfriend.

8. Stability of the home environment.

9. Quality and continued stability of the child(ren)'s education.

10. Condition and behavior of the parents, including provable drug or alcohol abuse.

11. Location of the parents' homes.

12. Parents' time spent with child(ren).

13. Parents' employment responsibilities and work hours.

14. Parents' child care providers.

15. Input or recommendations from experts.

16. Needs of the child(ren), including any special needs.

17. Age and number of child(ren).

A judge always is guided by "the best interests of the children" to make his or her decision which gives the judge considerable authority.

In Texas, "Sole custody" actually pertains to legal rights of a child. Sole Managing Conservatorship means one parent has all the legal rights. A judge rarely gives one parent all the legal rights for the child thereby taking the parental rights away from the other parent. Joint Managing Conservatorship allows the parents to share legal rights for the child, such as making decisions regarding the child(ren)'s health, welfare and education. However, the judge will designate one parent's house as the child(ren)'s primary residence. A possession order determines the parenting plan and how much time a child will spend with each parent.