When a couple in Texas with children is divorcing, child custody is one of the issues that must be worked out. If the child is under the age of 3 and the case goes to litigation, there are several factors a judge must take into account.
A judge will consider the caregiving the child received prior to and throughout the court case as well as the child's medical, physical, developmental and behavioral needs. The availability and willingness of the parties who may get custody and how the child might be affected by separation from caregivers will also be considered.
In addition to the parties who want custody, the judge will consider the effects of others who will surround the child and the child's sibling relationships. The economic, emotional, medical, social and physical conditions of the people who want custody is another consideration.
A child needs both a healthy routine and an attachment to both parents. A child may also be affected by travel between locations, and so the proximity of homes will be taken into account. A court will also consider the ability of the parties to share in parenting and the fact that the child under three may have a temporary schedule that shifts as the child gets older.
In some cases, parents may be able to work together to make a legal agreement about child custody that suits them and their family best. Some studies have shown that this can also set the stage for the healthiest co-parenting relationships. However, in some cases, this is not possible. One parent may be inflexible, or a parent may be concerned about abuse, addiction or other issues. It may be necessary to turn to litigation. In either of these circumstances, a parent may wish to work with an attorney to protect the best interests of the child.