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"Best Interest" in Child Custody

What is "best interest" in Child Custody? I receive many inquiries about what does "best interest" mean in context of child custody? There is no definition in the Texas Family Code for "best interest" of a child. It is a lot like "beauty" in that its definition lies in the eye of the beholder, the tryer of facts in the case, whether it's the judge or a jury.

The appellate courts of Texas have not defined it per se. The Texas Supreme Court does list factors that may be considered when trying to answer what is the "best interest of a child." Holley v. Adams, a 1976 Texas Supreme Court includes the following: (1) the desires of the child, (2) the emotional and physical needs of the child now and in the future, (3) the emotional and physical danger to the child now and in the future, (4) the parental abilities of the individuals seeking custody, (5) the programs available to assist those individuals to promote the best interest of the child, (6) the plans for the child by those indivuals, (7) the stability of the home, (8) acts or omissions of the parent which may indicate that the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one, and any excuse for a parent's acts or omissions. These are not exclusively the only factors that may be considered. They are however a starting point to answer the question of the "best interest" of a child in a child custody case.

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