Texas Child Protection Law Bench Book

2023 version: As effective November 1, 2023

C. Court Decisions Requiring a Best Interest Determination

1. Transferring a case to the Court of Continuing Exclusive Jurisdiction (CCEJ):

•   The court shall order transfer to the CCEJ if the court finds the transfer is necessary for the convenience of the parties and is the best interest of the child. Tex. Fam. Code § 262.203.

2. Denying a parent visitation:

•   If the court finds that visitation between a child and a parent is not in the child's best interest, the court shall render an order that:

◦   states the reasons for finding that visitation is not in the child's best interest; and

◦   outlines specific steps the parent must take to be allowed to have visitation with the child. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.109(b).

3. When considering unsupervised visitation in the context of family violence:

•   It is a rebuttable presumption that it is not in the best interest of a child for a parent to have unsupervised visitation with a child if credible evidence is presented of a history or pattern of past or present child neglect or abuse or family violence by that parent or any person the parent permitted to have unsupervised access to the child. Tex. Fam. Code § 153.004(e).

4. Extending the dismissal date considerations:

•   Unless the court has commenced the trial on the merits, the court may not retain the suit on the court's docket after one year unless the court finds that extraordinary circumstances necessitate the child remaining in the Temporary Managing Conservatorship (TMC) of the department and that continuing TMC is in the best interest of the child. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.401(b).

5. Ordering a monitored return:

•   The court may find that retaining jurisdiction under this section is in the best interest of the child. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.403(1).