The most commonly encountered stereotype that clients have when it comes to the family courts in Texas is that fathers stand no chance of winning primary custody of their child in a divorce or child custody case. Although this may have been the case in the past, this is simply no longer true.
Studies have shown that children who have continuous and long-lasting contact with their fathers do better in school. They are also said to adjust more readily to changes in social situations, and have fewer disciplinary issues at home and school. As a result, it is much more possible for a father to win primary custody in a Texas contested family law case.
What does primary custody mean?
I used the phrase “primary custody” in the opening of this blog post when I described how a father might be successful in a custody case. Custody, as it’s generally used, is not a big part of Texas family law. Conservatorship is, however.
Conservatorship covers the rights and duties a parent has about their children. Custody is a more general term applied to cover concepts including rights and duties and possession, access, and visitation. The “primary” conservator is the parent who has the right to establish the child’s primary residence. In other words, the primary conservator gets to have a child living with him or her.
Father’s rights in a divorce case
Society and the legal system have evolved in how they perceive father’s rights. If you’re a dad reading this, you can now feel more confident in your chances in a Texas family court. You have a fair chance to convince a judge in giving you primary conservatorship.
Assumptions about mothers’ superiority in parenting are outdated. Texas fathers now begin custody cases on equal footing, which is a recent improvement. The family court considers home stability, income, parenting plans, and time spent with the child when deciding primary conservatorship.
How a father can better his chances at winning primary custody in a divorce case
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, has represented fathers winning primary custody in southeast Texas. While there is no sure-fire way to win in this area, strategies help. There are ways to set yourself apart from many parents right from the beginning of your case.
For starters, you need actually to be a good dad. Quality time with your child is crucial as absentee fathers will feed into the old and untrue stereotype that fathers are not as involved in their children’s lives as mothers are. So, showing a judge that you are involved in your child’s school, social and extracurricular activities is a good place to start.
Do you know the names of your child’s doctors, and do you take him or her to those appointments? If you do- that’s great. If you don’t, your odds of being named a primary conservator start to diminish.
Think about your child’s life based on your own experiences growing up. Whether you had a father in your life who was active and involved, all the important things to you as a kid are most likely important to your child.
The odds are good that if you are interested in having your son or daughter come live with you, you are already involved in their day-to-day lives. Not only will this have helped strengthen your relationship with your kids, but it will help you when it comes time to talk to a judge in your divorce case.
Keep the faith, and you may be able to keep your child
Many fathers begin their divorce by assuming that they have no shot at winning primary conservatorship. The result of that belief is that they forfeit even the opportunity to present their arguments to a judge.
In general, men suffer from a few things that women seem to confront on a much more infrequent basis. Many men fail to respond to legal summons, losing their rights. Some fathers, after responding, agree to stop litigation.
In doing so, they again forfeit their right to argue to the judge or make reasonable demands themselves. The bottom line is this: you need to be accountable to both your child and the court.
By responding to a lawsuit for divorce in a timely fashion, learning the “rules” of the family law court, and understanding what your own goals are, you stand a good chance to be awarded more time with your child than you might otherwise think.
Divorce is tough, but finding strong advocates does not have to be
If you find yourself in a position where your spouse has filed for divorce against you, please consider the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, in your search for legal representation. Our years of experience representing families across southeast Texas has shown us that communication and trust are the most important characteristics of a solid attorney-client relationship.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “Child Custody E-Book”
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “Father’s Rights E-Book”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- 12 Texas Custody & Conservatorship Battle Tips
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Have Joint Custody of My Child in Texas?
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- Are Dads at a Disadvantage when trying to win 50/50 custody in a Texas Divorce?
- Sole Managing Conservator in a Child Custody Case in Texas?
- Help!! My Ex-Spouse Kidnapped my Child
- How Much Will My Texas Child Custody Case Cost?
- When Can a Minor Child Weigh in on Custody Decisions in Texas?”
- Child Custody Geographic Restrictions in Texas
Bryan Fagan, a native of Atascocita, Texas, is a dedicated family law attorney inspired by John Grisham’s “The Pelican Brief.” He is the first lawyer in his family, which includes two adopted brothers. Bryan’s commitment to family is personal and professional; he cared for his grandmother with Alzheimer’s while completing his degree and attended the South Texas College of Law at night.
Married with three children, Bryan’s personal experiences enrich his understanding of family dynamics, which is central to his legal practice. He specializes in family law, offering innovative and efficient legal services. A certified member of the College of the State Bar of Texas, Bryan is part of an elite group of legal professionals committed to ongoing education and high-level expertise.
His legal practice covers divorce, custody disputes, property disputes, adoption, paternity, and mediation. Bryan is also experienced in drafting marital property agreements. He leads a team dedicated to complex family law cases and protecting families from false CPS allegations.
Based in Houston, Bryan is active in the Houston Family Law Sector of the Houston Bar Association and various family law groups in Texas. His deep understanding of family values and his professional dedication make him a compassionate advocate for families navigating Texas family law.