If you are thinking about divorcing your spouse, your children are probably your top priority. Whether you want to pursue sole custody, known as managing conservatorship in Texas, or another custody arrangement, you need to know how judges determine child custody.

In the Lone Star State, custody depends on the best interests of the child. This is a legal standard that all judges must consider when settling custody disputes.

The best interests of the child

Like you, the State of Texas wants what is best for your child. When applying the best interests of the child standard, judges typically consider a few factors. Among others, these include the following:

  • The nature of the parent-child relationship
  • The ability of each parent to care for the child
  • The needs of the child
  • Any history of abuse or neglect

The importance of two parents

Whenever possible, judges typically prefer to maintain a child’s relationship with both parents. When applying the best interests of the child standard, the judge in your case may take steps to preserve parent-child contact. This may be true even if you end up with a sole managing conservatorship.

Your bargaining power

You may not have to battle your child’s other parent in open court. That is, you may be able to negotiate an acceptable custody agreement outside of the judicial system. If you can, a judge is likely to defer to your bargain.

Of course, before approving a negotiated custody agreement, a judge must conclude that it is in the best interests of the child. Nevertheless, exercising your bargaining power may lead you to the custody result you want.