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November 5, 2020

What factors will a judge consider for a child who is less than three years old?

A judge has to consider the following factors when deciding a possession order for a child who is less than three years old:

  • the caregiving provided to the child before and during the pending court case;
  • the effect on the child that may result from separation from either party;
  • the availability of the parties as caregivers and the willingness of the parties to personally care for the child;
  • the physical, medical, behavioral, and developmental needs of the child;
  • the physical, medical, emotional, economic, and social conditions of the parties;
  • the impact and influence of people, other than the parties, who will be present during periods of possession;
  • the presence of siblings during periods of possession;
  • the child’s need to develop healthy attachments to both parents;
  • the child’s need for having a continuous routine;
  • the location of the homes of the parties and how close they are to each other;
  • the need for a temporary possession schedule that will shift little by little towards the future possession schedule that will be in effect once the child reaches age three - the temporary schedule will be based on the age of the child or any minimal or inconsistent contact with the child by a party;
  • the ability of the parties to share in the responsibilities, rights, and duties of parenting; and
  • any other evidence of the best interest of the child.1

1 Tex. Fam. Code § 153.254(a)