The court’s determination in custody disputes can have a life-long impact on both the parents and the children. In Texas, parents expect that custody decisions are made after evaluating several factors so that the best interests of the child are met. However, there is a silent factor that might be overlooked: The psychological biases that judges, lawyers and other court personnel might be unaware of.
Factors that are evaluated in custody decisions
Before making a final decision in child custody cases, judges evaluate several factors to determine which is the best environment for the child to grow up in. After evaluating these factors, judges should be able to determine if sole or joint custody is best for the child. Some of the factors evaluated include:
- The child’s age and their emotional, physical, medical and educational needs
- Parental age and the emotional and physical health of each parent
- The attachment between the child and each parent
- The quality of parenting provided by each parent
- The role each parent played in the child’s life in the past
- Any allegations or history of child abuse, domestic abuse, sexual abuse or substance abuse
The silent factor
However, even when those factors are evaluated, psychological bias can still affect the outcome of the custody case. Because judges and other court personnel might not be aware of their own biases, they might find themselves pushing towards resolutions that might not, in the long run, be best for the child. For example, judges might use their idea of successful parenting based on their own experiences growing up or parenting their own children. They might also assume that both parents, as adults, can parent the children with the same quality.
Because of the impact custody decisions have on a child’s future, it is important that all factors, even psychological ones, are carefully evaluated. This is one way to work towards a stable, supportive future for each child.