Although family courts long ago stopped assuming that mothers should get full custody of children in a custody battle, moms are still given custody at a much higher rate. The general standard is that courts should make decisions based on “what’s in the best interest of the child.” Here, we’ll discuss regulations surrounding child custody rights for fathers in Texas, why mothers are still more likely to get custody, and how child custody for fathers can likely be granted in court.
How Child Custody Rights for Fathers Works in Texas
In Texas, custody is divided into two issues.
Conservatorship. In the United States, conservatorship is a legal concept that dictates a person as a guardian or protector of someone else and who handles that person’s financial and daily matters.
In a child custody case, the parent with conservatorship is tasked with making decisions for the child, such as health insurance, school attendance, and other day-to-day child care matters. A conservatorship can be sole or joint.
Possession and Access. This is the child’s living and visitation schedule. Parents may receive sole, joint, or no possession and access, depending on the circumstances and the courts’ decision.
Why Mothers Get Custody More Often
There are parameters that courts use to determine what’s in the best interest of the child. These factors often put fathers in an unfavorable position in a child custody case, and the outcome usually results in the mother receiving full custody.
Nevertheless, the court makes a decision on child custody based on three factors:
- Primary Caregiver —The child’s primary caregiver is the parent who cares for most of the child’s daily needs. Who takes the child to school, puts them to bed, cooks their meals, and schedules their doctor appointments? While many fathers are taking on roles at home, moms are much more likely to be the primary caregiver.
- Parent-Child Bond — The courts also want to know which parent the child is most attached to. Who will the child feel most comfortable with after the parents divorce and live in different homes? Infants and toddlers, by nature, tend to have a strong bond with the mother. Young adolescents may still look to their mothers when they’re sick, have trouble at school, or need someone to talk to. These specific scenarios on the parent-child bond can sway the custody into the mother’s favor.
- Cooperation — Courts also want to give custody to the parent who is more likely to encourage the kids to have a healthy relationship with the other parent. In other words, if the mother continues to encourage their son to speak to the father even through tumultuous events during a divorce and other relationship matters, the courts will consider the mother’s cooperative attitude when determining custody.
Tips for Dads to Get Visitation and Custody Rights
Because courts genuinely try to provide children with access to both parents, there are positive steps you can take so you receive as much custody or time with your child as possible.
- Build a strong relationship with your child. Volunteering for field trips at school, attending soccer games, and helping them with homework when your child comes to visit are just a few ideas to keep in mind when petitioning for custody rights. The more time you spend with the child, the more likely that your visitation and custody rights will be granted.
- Be organized and have a plan. Child custody can be adjusted or changed at any time. It’s important that you keep accurate records of your visitation schedule, extracurriculars that you attend, appointments you take the child to, etc. If conservatorship or possession and access need to be adjusted, you can make a solid case for why you can handle full custody.
- Be respectful. Yes, divorce is difficult, and you may have hard feelings toward your ex-wife. But it’s essential that you treat her with respect and cooperate with her when it comes to your children. If you’re rude or challenge her on everything, the courts will take notice.
- Pay your child support. Nothing can be more detrimental to a father’s ongoing custody battle than failing to make child support payments on time. If you can’t make these payments, the courts will never believe that you can provide for your child on a full-time basis.
Know Your Rights
If you’re facing a custody battle, you should speak with a family lawyer who understands the needs and rights of fathers. You deserve to have a relationship with your child. Jennifer Espronceda will fight for your right to fair custody and help you do what’s right for your children. Call our offices and set up an appointment with us today.