The court’s primary consideration in determining Texas custody is the best interest of the child. Tex. Fam. Code § 153.002. There is a rebuttable presumption that the parents being named joint managing conservators is in the child’s best interest. Tex. Fam. Code § 153.131. When a court names parents joint managing conservators, it must also designate which of them has the exclusive right to determine the child’s primary residence. Custody matters are highly fact-based, and the court generally has broad discretion in determining the child’s best interest and deciding who will have the exclusive right to determine the child’s primary residence. A father recently challenged the custody, child support, and property division in his divorce.
The parties separated after fourteen years of marriage. They had two children together. The trial court named both parents joint managing conservators with the mother having the exclusive rights to designate the children’s primary residence, receive child support, and make educational decisions.
According to the appeals court, the record showed that one of the children said she would “rather stay with mom.” The mother testified she had been the parent who took care of the children when they were sick, took them to medical appointments, prepared food, helped with homework, and put them to bed. She testified she thought it was in the children’s best interest to live with her. She alleged the father drank too much around the children.