When a married couple with children divorce, the primary question of who will be granted custody of the children can become emotional and challenging. This can be especially true for fathers, who must do everything possible to stand up for their legal rights in custody and visitation decisions. Divorcing couples need to work with an experienced child custody attorney to make the right choices for any children regarding custody.
Any time fathers feel that their rights have been violated, the best choice is to have a child custody lawyer represent them through any custody proceedings. This is especially true when working through difficult custody decisions or under any special circumstances where the father was not included in the original custody decision.
Protecting Texas Fathers Custody Rights
In the state of Texas, custody cannot be denied based on the gender of the parent. Fathers may not be denied custody of their children simply because they are not the child’s mother. This may seem simple; however, for many years courts almost automatically awarded custody to the mother unless it could be proven that she was unfit to have custody. Now every father in Texas can obtain custody of his children, based on the court’s decision as to which parent should have that privilege.
Child Custody Decisions in Texas
The Texas family court encourages conservatorship. Parents are encouraged to work out visitation and parenting schedules that leave both parents equally involved in raising their children. Ultimately, a decision must be reached as to which parent will be considered the custodial or primary parent, leaving the other as non-custodial parent. With gender not regarded as a qualifying factor for primary custody determination, other important factors are taken into consideration. This can include which parent is better able to provide the most stable living environment for children as well as which parent has been primarily responsible for child raising responsibilities up to the time of the divorce. Although this frequently involves the mother of the children, many fathers act as primary caretakers of their children and deserve equal consideration.
Helping Fathers Protect Their Custodial Rights
Because prior laws did not necessarily protect a father’s rights, some fathers are still unfairly ignored for primary physical custody. Even with laws mandating that fathers be treated equally, there remains a heavy emphasis on the mother being awarded custody unless fathers present a convincing case otherwise. Although this is becoming less of an issue as time goes on, fathers should always work with experienced child custody lawyers during custody hearings. Fathers who feel their rights have been violated in past child custody decisions can let child custody attorneys help them have custody decisions revisited and perhaps changed.
Just a few short years ago, it was the general consensus in most states that mothers would retain physical custody of a couple’s children. In states like Texas, there is finally a more progressive attitude toward child custody, with a father’s rights being protected by law. When divorce becomes inevitable, couples with children should work with experienced child custody attorneys who can help find an amicable solution to child custody issues and protect the rights of both parents. Fathers who feel they have been unfairly denied custody of their children should discuss their individual situation with an experienced child custody lawyer!
Reynaldo G. (Trey) Garza, Attorney at Law
680 East St. Charles, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520