Parents who are not together any more or who are divorcing argue. Sometimes that arguing spills over in front of the child. But, it’s not okay to argue in front of the child. It’s not okay to call the other parent names in front of the child.
But, even when parents fight where the kids can’t hear, it can affect the parent’s rights to the child.
The Texas Family Code presumes that parents are going to be named joint conservators of their children. But, when parents cannot co-parent, reach shared decisions, or generally put the children’s interests first, a judge can refuse to appoint the parents as joint conservators.
Texas Family Code section 153.134 says that a court must consider the following factors in deciding to apply the presumption in favor of joint conservatorship:
(1) whether the physical, psychological, or emotional needs and development of the child will benefit from the appointment of joint managing conservators;
(2) the ability of the parents to give first priority to the welfare of the child and reach shared decisions in the child’s best interest;
(3) whether each parent can encourage and accept a positive relationship between the child and the other parent;
(4) whether both parents participated in child rearing before the filing of the suit;
(5) the geographical proximity of the parents’ residences;
(6) if the child is 12 years of age or older, the child’s preference, if any, regarding the person to have the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child; and,
(7) any other relevant factor.
So, even if the arguing is such that it prevents two parents from effectively co-parenting, it is grounds to justify sole custody in favor of one parent.
Consider this when you are arguing about dental treatment, or medical treatment, or sharing prescriptions, or whatever else parents argue about.