When determining conservatorship and possession of or access to the child, Texas courts ultimately consider what is in the best interests of the child or children. Conservatorship of children refers to the rights of parents to make legal, medical or educational decisions, among others, while possession of or access to the child refers to where the child will reside and how much time they will spend with each parent.
How domestic violence affects children
Courts consider a number of factors in determining child custody matters but when domestic violence is involved, this can have a substantial impact on the decision. Depending on the severity of the situation, domestic violence can have long-lasting effects on children, including:
- Increased risk of anxiety and depression
- Behavioral issues, including aggression
- Poor school performance
- Perpetual fear or guilt
What this means for parents
According to Texas Family Code Sec. 153.004, the court will consider evidence of intentional physical abuse by one party directed against the party’s spouse, other parent of the child or any individual younger than 18 years old committed within a two-year period leading up to the filing of the child custody suit.
Depending on the evidence, the court may decide to not allow one parent to have access to a child. Such evidence might include police reports, witness testimony and even expert opinions addressing your child’s condition while in the other parent’s care.
The benefits of an attorney in such high-stakes situations
Child custody matters can be naturally emotional and sensitive matters, especially when domestic violence is involved. Not all evidence is treated equally, so parents need to be prepared to effectively present their arguments. In such high-stakes situations, an attorney experienced with high-conflict family law matters can be beneficial to resolve the matter as efficiently as possible.