The Legislature finds that it is in the best interests of a child that a parenting
plan be developed in any proceeding under Chapter 42 involving custody, parenting
time, visitation, or other access with a child and that the parenting plan establish
specific individual responsibility for performing such parenting functions as are
necessary and appropriate for the care and healthy development of each child affected
by the parenting plan.
The Legislature further finds that it is in the best interests of a child to have
a safe, stable, and nurturing environment. The best interests of each child shall be paramount and consideration shall be given
to the desires and wishes of the child if of an age of comprehension regardless of
chronological age, when such desires and wishes are based on sound reasoning.
In any proceeding involving a child, the best interests of the child shall be the
standard by which the court adjudicates and establishes the individual responsibilities,
including consideration in any custody, parenting time, visitation, or other access
determinations as well as resolution of conflicts affecting each child. The state presumes the critical importance of the parent-child relationship in the
welfare and development of the child and that the relationship between the child and
each parent should be equally considered unless it is contrary to the best interests
of the child.
Given the potential profound effects on children from witnessing child abuse or neglect
or domestic intimate partner abuse, as well as being directly abused, the courts shall
recognize the duty and responsibility to keep the child or children safe when presented
with a preponderance of the evidence of child abuse or neglect or domestic intimate
partner abuse, including evidence of a child being used by the abuser to establish
or maintain power and control over the victim. In domestic intimate partner abuse cases, the best interests of each child are often
served by keeping the child and the victimized partner safe and not allowing the abuser
to continue the abuse. When child abuse or neglect, domestic intimate partner abuse, or unresolved parental
conflict prevents the best interests of the child from being served in the parenting
arrangement, then the safety and welfare of the child is paramount in the resolution
of those conflicts.
FindLaw Codes may not reflect the most recent version of the law in your jurisdiction. Please verify the status of the code you are researching with the state legislature or via Westlaw before relying on it for your legal needs.
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