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Factors considered in major child possession decisions

In Texas divorce cases where children are involved, determining which parent will get possession of the children is often among the most contested issues. The family court judge has wide discretion in making the determination, and his or her ruling can vary widely based on the facts of the case. Parents can count on the judge using the best interests of the children as the broad standard, though, and there are a number of factors he or she will commonly weigh to arrive at a decision.

Generally speaking, courts prefer maintenance of consistency in the child's life over making major changes. This is especially true for younger children, and courts will be willing to consider lifestyle changes for the kids when they are older. The court will also consider the level and quality of each parent's relationship with the children, the physical and mental health of each parent and the accommodations available in each of the parents' homes.

The parents' respective abilities to provide for the child's medical care, emotional needs and physical wellness will also usually be considered, as well as the level of attachment between the kids and their school, community and home environment. If the children are old and mature enough to form their own desires and express them clearly, the court will often consider their wishes in make a possession determination.

In divorce cases or child possession contests, an attorney may be able to help a parent secure more time with the kids. An attorney might develop an access schedule that is acceptable to the court and both of the parties, or gather evidence to build a case in support of the client's possession claim. An attorney might also be able to help by arguing against evidence submitted by the other side or by communicating with the court on the client's behalf.

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