In a child custody battle, it is a popular belief that the mother is often awarded custody or conservatorship of a child, with the father’s rights often overlooked.
But because he is still a parent, it is within the father’s rights to seek legal assistance to fight for and get custody of his child.
What Exactly are his chances of getting Conservatorship?
It’s not a lost cause until the court makes a final decision. In fact, it is common now for fathers to win custody.
Statistics from other jurisdictions beside Texas show that child custody is often awarded to the mother, especially when the children are still young. But Texas courts have expressly held that “tender years”
has no effect on which parent should win custody.
Also, the Equal Rights Amendment in 1973 specifies that the sex of a parent cannot be used by the Texas court as a consideration when making custody decisions. A paragraph in the Texas Family Code also states that Texas has an interest in making sure that, as long as it is in the child’s best interests, the child/children must have frequent and continuing contact with both parents.
This means fighting for conservatorship is not only within the father’s rights but is a feasible goal.
Joint Legal Custody
In most cases, Texas law appoints joint managing conservators, giving the father every opportunity to have legal custody over a child or children.
This means both parents can make important decisions and have equal say where their child’s welfare is concerned. They’re both responsible for providing support with education, medical care, and other needs of a child. Joint managing conservatorship also means that both parents need to work together and to be actively engaged in a child’s life.
However, joint legal custody is only awarded when it serves the child’s interests. If the court deems a child at risk of violence or harm under a father’s care, a father may only have possessory conservatorship with limited and supervised access to a child.
Amicable Agreement on Custody
The Texas family court system recognizes that parents know their own children and dynamics. That’s why the court encourages parents to make their own agreements on child custody, as long as it will work on the child’s best interest.
This gives a father every opportunity to assert his rights without going through a legal battle. If both parents arrive at amicable agreements, the courts will honor the arrangement.
What happens if an Amicable Agreement is not possible?
One parent may petition for sole managing conservatorship. Whether the Texas court will award such conservatorship will depend on a number of factors:
- Health and safety of a child/children
- History of child abuse or domestic violence
- Mental and physical health of each parent
- Preference of a child, if the child is at least 12 years old
- Primary caretaker of a child/children before the divorce
What is the Current Outlook of Father’s Rights in a Custody Battle?
Compared to two generations ago, Texas law recognizes that the father has equal rights to be considered primary custodian in a battle for child conservatorship. If you want to assert your paternal rights during the divorce process, don’t hesitate to do so.
Consult with a family law attorney at The Law Office of Jon R. Boyd to discuss all your rights and options.
The Law Office of Jon R. Boyd practice Family and Probate Law and has two offices located in Granbury and Plano, Texas. We‘re happy to offer our services here and to the surrounding areas:Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Lewisville, Denton, The Colony, Little Elm, Carrollton, Richardson, Addison, Dallas or Fort Worth