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I Don’t Have My Own Place— Can I Win Custody?

There are many cases wherein one of the parents is struggling financially that they can’t buy their own home. In custody cases, the court considers what is best for the child. There is no denying that children need a home and a financially stable custodian. Children have needs and they will, of course, be totally dependent.

Home as a basic need

One of a child’s basic needs is a need for a home. Having a home is an indication of financial stability. A home will also ensure the child’s security. It is important that a child will grow in a good and safe environment.

While having your own home is not a definite requirement for getting child custody, it can definitely increase your chances of winning custody. The judge will always base his or her decision on the child’s best interest.

It is not the only deciding factor

It is clear that having your own home is an advantage in custody cases. However, this is not the only deciding factor. There are many other factors to consider. Say, for example, you don’t have your own home, instead, you live with your parents. It offers a good and safe environment for your child. On the other hand, even if your ex-spouse has his or her own home, but the environment is not safe for the child, he or she will not win custody. The court will also determine who is fit to take care of the child among many other considerations.

Considerations for an Acceptable Living Situation

The required acceptable living situation is based on the individual circumstances of both the parent and the child. The factors will differ depending on the state, the court, and sometimes, the judge. For instance, if the child and the parent are of the opposite sex, the court expects privacy for the child. Therefore, it is strongly suggested that the child would have his/her own bedroom and bathroom, among others.

Another consideration is the age of the child or the children. An older child may need a more spacious room than a younger child. A lot of parents are experiencing the same situation. With the current economic situation, affordable housing is difficult to find, especially in many large cities. Let alone spacious and affordable housing.

The number of children in the custody case is also a factor to consider in the determination of a proper living situation for these children. To put it simply, the judge expects more house space if there are more children involved. 

The age and unique financial situation of a parent are also considered by the judge. For example, a grandparent granted with custodial rights may not have enough money to provide for a bigger house for the grandchildren. In the same way, a parent who is ordered to pay child support might not be able to pay for a large home to provide own room for his/her children. Aside from the size of the house, the judge will also look into the safety of the parent’s house and the neighborhood it is located in. If there is a high chance of harm and danger to a child in that home or neighborhood, this might affect the court’s judgment with regard to the child custody case. 

Best Interest of the Child

At the end of the day, the main concern of the judge will still fall back on the best interest of the child.  If a judge’s assumption that the child will be happy and that the living accommodation of a parent does not have any drastic effect on the rearing of the child or his or her growth and as long as there is nothing that hinders the parent and the child to spend quality time together, even with a house that is less spacious, a judge may rule in favor of that parent.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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