When parents in Texas divorced, it used to be the case that whichever parent was the "primary caretaker" (often the mother) would automatically get custody of the child, and the child's other parent (often the father) would have visitation rights. However, these days many courts and experts recognize that both parents play an important role in a child's life, and to this end, co-parenting and shared custody is becoming more common. In fact, some states in our nation, Texas included, are considering legislation that would either promote shared parenting or even make it the default child custody arrangement.
Many advocates for this legislation are fathers' rights groups. They have stated that fathers who are not part of a shared parenting arrangement often feel disconnected from their children as well as feeling overburdened by their obligations to pay child support. Other proponents state that such legislation will put family courts in line with what many modern families are already choosing out-of-court.
However, those opposed to such legislation raise concerns that such legislation could hurt victims of domestic abuse, and that it does not allow the judge to use his or her discretion when determining what is in the child's best interest. There are also concerns regarding child support and income disparity between mothers and fathers.
In the end, instead of pitting parents as adversaries in divorce proceedings, shared parenting sends the message to parents that they each play an important role in raising their child. Those in Texas who have questions about shared parenting in the Lone Star state may want to discuss their concern with a legal professional.
Source: The Washington Post, "More than 20 states in 2017 considered laws to promote shared custody of children after divorce," Michael Alison Chandler, Dec. 11, 2017