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The Best Interests of the Child

In Texas and most other states, the best interests of the child is the deciding standard in child custody, visitation, and support matters as well as placement of children in the custody of the Department of Family and Protective Services.  But the words themselves provide little insight into their practical application.

In fact, this standard is quite subjective.  Sixteen states and the District of Columbia provide specific statutory criteria for determining the best interests of the child.  Fortunately, Texas is among them.  These factors appear in the Texas Family Code in the context of providing permanent placements for children in government custody.  However, Texas courts have applied similar factors in other types of cases using the best interest of the child standard.  These factors include the following:

  • Desires of the child
  • Present and future emotional and physical needs of the child
  • Emotional and physical dangers to the child
  • Parental ability of each person seeking custody
  • Programs available to assist the individuals seeking custody
  • Plans that each individual has for the child
  • Household stability of each individual seeking custody
  • Acts or omissions by each individual seeking child custody that indicate the quality of the parent-child relationship

Even with these guiding factors in place, the best interests of the child can still be a difficult concept.  Experienced family law attorneys in Texas, however, have seen this standard in action.  This gives them a practical understanding of its application that goes beyond mere words.

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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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