(a) If a written agreed parenting plan is not filed with the court, the court may render an order appointing the parents joint managing conservators only if the appointment is in the best interest of the child, considering the following factors:
(1) whether the physical, psychological, or emotional needs and development of the child will benefit from the appointment of joint managing conservators;
(2) the ability of the parents to give first priority to the welfare of the child and reach shared decisions in the child's best interest;
(3) whether each parent can encourage and accept a positive relationship between the child and the other parent;
(4) whether both parents participated in child rearing before the filing of the suit;
(5) the geographical proximity of the parents' residences;
(6) if the child is 12 years of age or older, the child's preference, if any, regarding the person to have the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child; and
(7) any other relevant factor.
(b) In rendering an order appointing joint managing conservators, the court shall:
(1) designate the conservator who has the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the child and:
(A) establish, until modified by further order, a geographic area within which the conservator shall maintain the child's primary residence; or
(B) specify that the conservator may determine the child's primary residence without regard to geographic location;
(2) specify the rights and duties of each parent regarding the child's physical care, support, and education;
(3) include provisions to minimize disruption of the child's education, daily routine, and association with friends;
(4) allocate between the parents, independently, jointly, or exclusively, all of the remaining rights and duties of a parent as provided by Chapter 151; and
(5) if feasible, recommend that the parties use an alternative dispute resolution method before requesting enforcement or modification of the terms and conditions of the joint conservatorship through litigation, except in an emergency.
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