Going from being a full-time parent to dividing the time with the other parent can be traumatic for you, and the new schedule is likely to affect your children, too. You know your children better than the judge does, but you may find it a comfort to know that there are guidelines that help the courts determine your children’s best interests.
These are not mandatory considerations, but they do provide a framework for identifying a good schedule for your family.
Understanding the Holley factors
The State Bar of Texas explains that in the Holley v. Adams case, the Texas Supreme Court laid out nine factors that help a judge decide what is in your children’s best interests:
- The wishes of the child (if the judge considers him or her old enough to make the choice)
- The current and future emotional and physical needs of the child
- The presence of emotional or physical danger
- Each parent’s parenting abilities and skills
- Programs parents can access for assistance for them and/or their children
- The parents’ plans for the children (in cases arguing for sole managing conservatorship, or primary custody)
- The stability of each home
- One parent’s behavior or failure to act that indicates he or she does not have a good parent-child relationship (argument primarily for SMC cases)
- Reasons that the behavior or failure to act is not harmful (argument primarily for SMC cases)
Using the Holley factors in your case
Trying to discredit your ex in court is not the way to win more time with your children. Instead, consider a fair schedule that allows your children to have quality time with each parent. For example, if you have been the one to help your children with homework, and the other parent is committed to extracurricular activities, you may serve your children’s needs well with a schedule that allows each of you to continue in these roles.
Whatever schedule you present should reflect the courts’ definition of your children’s best interests and not focus solely on what you would prefer.