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Do Fathers Have Rights to Child Custody in a Texas Divorce?

 Posted on April 25, 2023 in Fathers' Rights

Bexar County Fathers' Rights Lawyer
Getting a divorce can be a tough and emotionally exhausting process, especially for parents who are fighting over the custody of their children. Ideally, parents would be able to share the custody of their children in a nice and cordial manner. In reality, this is not always the case, and contentious disputes may arise about where children will live and how parents will make decisions for them in the years after their divorce. Unfortunately, fathers sometimes feel like they do not have the same rights as mothers when it comes to child custody. Because mothers have traditionally been responsible for child care, some people assume that they will have primary or sole custody of children after getting divorced. However, these attitudes have changed in recent years, and both fathers and mothers will need to understand how the laws address fathers' rights in divorce and family law cases.

Presumption of Joint Custody in Texas

Under the laws of the state of Texas, joint legal custody of children is usually preferred. In fact, courts presume that joint managing conservatorship, the state's term for legal custody, is in the best interest of the child. This means that unless there is evidence showing that shared custody would be detrimental to the child, both parents will be given an equal say in how the child will be raised and how issues such as education and healthcare will be handled.

When determining whether there are any reasons why joint legal custody would not be in a child's best interest, courts may consider various factors. These include:

  • Whether joint custody will be a beneficial solution allowing the parents to meet the emotional and physical needs of the child.

  • Each parent's involvement in the child's life, including their emotional support and participation in the child's education and extracurricular activities.

  • Whether each parent is willing to encourage the child to have a positive relationship with the other parent.

  • How close the parents live to each other.

  • The child's preferences (if the child is at least 12 years old).

  • Any other factors that may be relevant, including any history of family violence or abuse.

While joint legal custody is preferred, there are some situations where sole custody may be appropriate or where one parent may be given primary decision-making authority in certain areas of the child's life. However, Texas law is gender-neutral when addressing conservatorship, and neither mothers nor fathers are given preference when determining how custody will be handled.

It is also important to note that even if one parent is granted sole managing conservatorship of a child, the other parent will usually have the right to be named a possessory conservator unless there is a valid reason why naming a parent as a possessory conservator would not be in the child's best interest. A possessory conservator will have the right to regular periods of physical possession (visitation) with the child. Visitation will usually only be denied if it could potentially harm the child's physical or emotional health.

Fathers' Rights in Child Custody Cases

Even though some may believe that fathers will face an uphill battle when it comes to child custody, the laws provide them with equal parental rights toward their children. If a father has been the primary caregiver for his child, there is nothing preventing him from seeking primary or sole custody of the child. Ultimately, courts will be looking to protect the best interests of children, and most of the time, parents will share custody, and fathers will be able to maintain close relationships with their children after getting divorced. While there may be disagreements on certain issues, divorcing parents can usually work together to create an agreed parenting plan that will detail how they will make decisions for their child and when the child will live with each parent.

Contact Our Bexar County Fathers' Rights Lawyer

If you are a father going through a divorce in Texas, it is crucial to be represented by an experienced family law attorney who can help protect your rights and make sure your voice is heard. At Brandon Wong & Associates, our San Antonio child custody attorney can help you navigate the legal system, advise you of your rights and obligations, and advocate for your child's best interests when negotiating a parenting plan or addressing issues in court. Contact us today at 210-201-3832 to arrange a consultation and get the legal help you need.


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