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Texas Custody Guidelines for Children Three Years and Younger

For many years Texas did not have definitive guidelines to determine custody for children three years old or younger. The courts ruled on cases based on their discretion and whatever they determined to be appropriate according to the existing statute. Determining custody (possession) for children three years and younger remained a murky area of law.

Meanwhile guidelines for the best interest of children older than three years were clear and had been established for some time.

However in 2011, the Texas legislature solved the problem by establishing new detailed custody guidelines for young children. The guidelines that brought clarification now are contained in the Texas Family Code, Section 153.254. When determining the best interest of a young child three years or younger the courts must consider:

  • Childcare-giving prior to the custody lawsuit
  • Caregivers’ availability and willingness to care for the child
  • The child’s physical, medical, emotional, economic and developmental needs
  • Physical, medical, emotional, economic and social conditions of parties seeking possession
  • Impact of others who will be present during possession
  • Presence of siblings
  • Child’s need to develop healthy contact with parents
  • Child’s need for continuity of routine
  • Location and proximity of parents
  • Whether a child needs temporary possession before shifting to the possession change under a new order
  • Parents’ ability to share responsibilities

If you are seeking custody of your child three years or younger, your lawyer now has some legal points to argue in your favor. The statute makes adjudications in custody cases for younger children less arbitrary and more within the control of your Texas child custody attorney.

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Robert Reid McInvale
Attorney at Law

Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Houston. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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