Child Custody in Texas

Divorce is never pretty, but when children are involved the process can get downright nasty.  While possessions are split half and half between the two partners, a child or children cannot be divided. Many times, one parent will retain full custody of the child while the other parent only has visitation rights. Even when two children are split up between the parents, this has a significant emotional toll on the siblings, and generally, access to the other child becomes limited. In Texas, fathers are fighting for equal custody rights, so they have a more level playing field in family court.

According to this article from the Dallas area, back in February, fathers were lobbying support for Texas House Bill 453, which would put mothers and parents on an equal playing field when it comes to child custody. Currently, unless a custody agreement is reached beforehand by the soon-to-be-ex couple, mothers are heavily favored in custody battles. One man in the article claims to have spent nearly $80,000 trying to see his young son from his first marriage more often. This kind of legislation would not be new, as the article states that at least five other states have already passed similar laws. This law would also not address child support issues, so the courts would still be left to themselves to decide what sort of support should be given. However, there are drawbacks. Marilea Lewis, A Texas judge for 24 years, claims that the legislation will prevent judges from making proper decisions. Also, the bill does not claim what shared custody means. Does it mean that a parent will have a child every other week, every other month, or some other form shared custody? A similar bill that would mandate equal custody died in the last session of the Texas legislature in 2015.

The fight over custody can be a long and bitter battle that also emotionally affects the children involved. While it does seem that courts tend to favor mothers for primary custody, what this law would do would be to take power away from the judges who make decisions based on a variety of different factors, namely what would be best for the children. The argument could be made that a mandate of this type could reduce court costs for the parents since a drawn out legal battle over custody could be avoided, and the need for the services attorneys like The Woodlands child custody and visitation attorneys could be reduced, but the goal is to help the children before the parents.

When it comes to children in divorce cases, an incredibly nuanced approach should be taken. Every child is different, and every divorce is different as well. When a judge decides on behalf of a child, some parents may perceive the decision as unfair. Ultimately, making sure the child comes out of the divorce unscathed should be the absolute highest priority for both the parents and the government. It is important for all parties involved to think about the best interests of the child at all times.


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