Child custody cases can arrive in Dallas courts pursuant to active divorces and on their own when parents separate or need to make changes to their existing parenting plans. Although parents can work together to prepare parenting plans that courts can approve for custodial matters, in is not unusual for courts to be tasked with creating custody schedules for families.

When a court must make decisions about the physical and legal custody of kids, it should first and foremost identify the best interests of the kids whose lives will be affected by the new custodial plan. The court can look at the needs of the children and their relationships with their parents. The court can evaluate if the parents will be able to work together to make a shared custody plan work or if the family may benefit from one parent having custody and the other visitation time with the kids.

Texas courts can also ask for the preferences of the kids. If a child has a strong preference to live with one parent over the other, the court may use that factor in its decisions on how physical custody should be set. Child preference is only one factor that may play into a custodial plan and courts are not bound to do what children want.

Child custody matters can take on different forms as the needs of different children require. No two Dallas families may have identical physical and legal custody plans. For families that are just beginning the process of setting up custodial arrangements for their kids, family law attorneys are useful resources and can help provide their clients with legal information on how best to approach their cases.