Texas courts considering child custody cases possess several options at their disposal. The first option is to grant sole custody of a child to one parent or the other. The parent with sole custody is responsible for living arrangements and possesses sole authority in all decisions associated with raising the child.
Child custody laws in Texas also allow judges to grant parents joint custody of a child. In this scenario, the child will live in the home of one of their parents. However, the second parent will enjoy full visitation rights. The non-custodial parent will also possess an equal say in the decisions regarding the life of the child.
The ultimate goal of the court is a decision that represents the best interest of the child. A forensic psychologist will sometimes become part of the process.
The role of a forensic psychologist
Forensic psychologists gather information regarding everyone involved in a child custody dispute. A few of the data gathering methods used by these professionals include:
- Psychological testing
- Observing behavior of parents and children
- Interviews with parents and children
- Evaluating information provided by schools and childcare providers
- Conversations with friends and family members
Once the court gathers and evaluates all the information, a judge will consider the recommendations of a forensic psychologist. The recommendations made by a forensic psychologist represent the best psychological interests of the child. The court will place a high value on these opinions.
Child custody issues that reach the court process are often strongly contested disputes on both sides. Individuals involved in these child custody cases will need to make a strong presentation for themselves if they hope to have a judge rule in their favor. A family law expert may be able to support this effort.