When most people think of custody cases, they assume that courts are biased against fathers, and primary custody usually goes to the mother. Do fathers have any rights in family court?
Luckily, though this school of thought is still pervasive, it is not the case legally. In the past, custody of young children (generally five and under) would go to the mother if the parents divorced. This has been phased out in most states, including Texas.
In child custody cases, courts are required to consider the qualifications of both parties regardless of the sex of the individual or their marital status. They must only consider what is in the best interest of the child or children when appointing sole or joint conservatorship. This is also applicable for when the courts determine the terms and conditions of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.
The court must assure children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child. If you are appointed the noncustodial parent, you still have the legal right to spend time with your children and know their whereabouts.
Parents in the midst of a divorce may try to use their children to spite their ex spouse-to-be, but it is illegal to keep children from parents who have not been determined to be incapable of acting in the best interest of said children.
Even with the equity of the law, fathers still aren't evenly appointed as the custodial parent. In Texas, only 10 percent of all noncustodial parents are mothers. While that is an improvement from days past, it's still not an even split considering the way the law is written.
If you are seeking to be appointed the custodial parent of your children, begin working with an experienced family law attorney who has worked child custody cases and can help you advocate for yourself. You have just as many rights to become the custodial parent as a mother.
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