Texas Family Code § 153.002 states that the best interest of the child shall always be front and center to the court when determining issues of conservatorship, possession, and access. Divorce law in Texas presumes that naming the child’s parents as joint managing conservators is in his or her best interests, but that is not always the case. In Holley v. Adams, the Texas Supreme Court established a non-exhaustive list of factors all Texas courts should consider when determining a child’s best interests during a child custody suit. Click here for more information about the Texas divorce process in general.
If you are going through a divorce or a SAPCR and you want to give yourself the best chance possible to be named the sole managing conservator or the joint managing conservator with the ability to designate the child’s primary residence, you should take the Holley factors into consideration. The Holley factors are:
- The desires of the child
- The emotional and physical needs of the child now and in the future
- The emotional and physical danger of the child now and in the future
- The parental abilities of the individuals seeking custody
- The programs available to assist these individuals to promote the best interest of the child
- The plans for the child by these individuals or by the agency seeking custody
- The stability of the home or proposed placement
- The acts or omissions of the parent which may indicate that the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one
- Any excuse for the acts or omissions by the parent
Parental alienation takes place when one parent takes actions to damage or hinder the child’s relationship with his or her other parent. While it is not a Holley factor, Texas courts will consider parental alienation as a factor when making child custody determinations. Courts have historically named the parent least likely to alienate the other as the sole or joint managing conservator with the right to designate the primary residence.
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