Playing to Win Can Help Fathers Achieve Custody Goals

In my experience representing fathers in divorce or child custody cases, I’ve observed that men often approach family law proceedings with distinct objectives compared to women. Typically, fathers perceive themselves to be at a disadvantage from the outset and may feel pressured to set more modest goals than their spouse or the child’s mother. There’s a pervasive belief that courts tend to favor women in custody decisions, leaving men striving for equal custody time with their children. Here are some tips for fathers to increase their chances of gaining custody.

Debunking Parental Preference Myths

Let’s start today’s blog post with a discussion on this subject. The reality of a family law case is that Texas law is not ambiguous when it comes to judges favoring either mothers or fathers regarding determinations regarding their children. The Texas family code explicitly states that it treats men and women equally. Judges are not legally able to base their decisions on conservatorships, visitation, or possession based on whether or not one party is a man or one party is a woman. Instead, a judge must apply hey best interests’ determination when making any decision regarding your child.

The best interest standard is almost universally applied throughout our country when courts make decisions regarding child custody. A judge can essentially assess what is in the best interests of that child from a health, well-being, and overall perspective. Once a judge prioritizes what is best for your children over the interests of any individual parent, they can make a decision in your case. A judge shouldn’t favor mothers or fathers solely based on their sex.

Understanding Judicial Discretion in Texas Family Law

On the other hand, Texas law allows judges to insert their discretion into your family court case without much problem. The state legislature wants judges to use their experiences when making decisions regarding your divorce or child custody case. If your claim reaches a judge, expect them to use the law and their personal experience to make decisions. Many people get upset about mothers supposedly getting the better end of the deal, while fathers are perceived to get the shorter end of the stick.

As a family law attorneys, we hear about judges’ gossip and tendencies from other attorneys and other people in the family law community all the time. Certain judges have reputations about favoring one type of parent or another or having general dispositions against or for either men or women. Again, I must emphasize that there is more gossip than actual intelligence about how particular judges rule. For the most part, judges are so busy and have so little time to review matters regarding your case; it wouldn’t surprise me if sex or gender didn’t even enter into their minds in many cases.

Understanding the Role of Family Court Judges in Texas

The other central point that I need to get across to you today is that family court judges rarely make final decisions in Texas’s child custody or divorce cases. This is true since most people involved in these cases settle their cases before a trial is necessary. This means that you and your spouse or co-parent are more likely to be the persons who determine your case’s outcomes rather than a judge. Planning your whole point around a divorce or child custody trial is not necessarily the most efficient way to arrive at decisions that are in the best interests of your children.

Due to the unlikely nature of a divorce or child custody trial in your case, you are better off preparing to mediate your case successfully with your opposing party. This does not mean that you should neglect preparation for a trial but what it means is that the work you do for mediation in the experience you gain in negotiating through mediation will be its way of preparing for a trial. It is also my experience that parents can better reach far more equitable outcomes in mediation than in a courtroom.

What does “play to win” mean in a divorce or child custody case?

Now that we have discussed some preliminary matters regarding child custody and divorce cases, we can dig into the topic of today’s blog post. If you are a father involved in a family log-related scenario, you have likely run into some of the stereotypes I mentioned at the outset of today’s blog post. You may be sitting reading this blog post thinking to yourself that the best you can do is to ask for a standard amount of possession for fathers and child support based on the tables contained in the Texas family code.

Empowering Fathers in Family Law: Playing to Win Your Case

I tell you that fathers do not have to take a backseat to mothers and important questions regarding their children. While the law may, on its face, be entirely fair for mothers and fathers, we know from living life in the real world that is not always how things shake out. Life treats different people in different ways, and fairness is not always a part of that discussion. I am not here to tell you that your experience in a family law court or within a family law case or feel entirely fair from start to finish. However, I am here to tell you that you, as a father, must play to win your family law case.

Just what do I mean by play to win? If you are anything like me, then you are a sports fan to one degree or another. Playing to win means giving your best effort and preparing yourself for the best possible result. That can mean different things to different people in other circumstances. Playing to win is not as easy to measure in the world of family law as it is in athletics because there is no scoreboard in a family log case. Determining who is a winner and who is a loser in a family law case is a fool’s errand and is subject to the beliefs of any person who is looking at the point from the outside in.

Leveraging Your Parenting History

To me, if you are an involved diligent father who has always played a significant role in your child’s upbringing, that does not need to change just because you are going through a family law case. You should use your history as a good dad to help You build a strong case in your family law matter. You are going into a family law case assuming that you are playing for second best works just about as well as your favorite football team going into a game hoping to keep the score close. If you go in with that attitude, it will impact every decision you make within the case.

Start by being intentional about your goals.

From my perspective, you need to start by being intentional about your goals and goal setting within the family law case. Part of my reason for saying this is that if you act intentionally regarding your case, you are likely better able to visualize your topic and think more clearly about what steps you need to take to achieve those goals. This is something that we all should do more of, in my opinion, in our daily lives. Rather than drifting through a process aimlessly, why not take the time to create some concrete goals and act intentionally? This is true in many areas of life, just as it is in a family law case.

The other reason I believe you must be intentional when it comes to creating goals for yourself in your family while the case is because you can rest assured that your opposing party will undoubtedly do so. Every moment you are not working on your case and creating goals for yourself regarding your children Is the time your spouse or co-parent is likely to spend on the issue from her perspective. Think about organizing, goal setting, and generally planning out the stages of your case as training for a sport or athletic event. You cannot expect to achieve success in your family law case without putting in the work. Again, your wife or Co-parent will outwork you if you allow her to do it.

Understanding the Role of Primary Conservatorship in Texas

What does be intentional mean when it comes to goal setting in a custody case? If you desire to be the parent with whom your children primarily reside, it’s important to understand that this role is referred to as a primary conservator in Texas. A primary conservator can spend more time with their children than the non-primary conservator and has a leg up regarding handling rights and duties for the children and receiving child support. I can also inform you that in most Family law cases, mothers are often named the primary conservator instead of fathers.

Hopefully, by this point in today’s blog post, you should have an inkling of why that is. This is not necessarily the case because mothers are better parents. This is not necessarily the case because mothers tend to spend more time with their kids than fathers. While both of these things may be true in individual cases, mothers often enter into a custody case to become primary conservators. They hold the assumption that this will be the case. Therefore, mothers have a concrete goal in place from the outset of the case and do not waiver on that goal despite any adversity that comes their way.

Assertive Fatherhood in Custody Cases

You, as a father, should not back down from your positions during the case, either. Often, fathers will back off from positions they previously held to be more reasonable or cause less conflict in a case. You may be the most diligent in caring father in the world who spends a great deal of time with your children. However, this means nothing, or next to nothing, if you go into your family law case with a modest goal to have a standard possession order and no more time with your kids.

My closing point to today’s blog post is this. If you are a father who has spent just as much time with your children as your wife, have a desire to spend time with your children as much as you can, And are in a position to become the primary conservator children, then you absolutely should push for that goal.

You are not being overly aggressive in making a push like this. You are not complicated and you are not putting your children through a bad experience by prolonging your child custody case. Keep in mind that if you believe being named as a primary conservator is truly in your children’s best interests, you should actively pursue this goal with intentionality. Playing to win means doing what’s best for your team. Your team, in this setting or any other, is you and your kids.

Questions about the material shared in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are an excellent way for you to learn more about Texas family law and our law office’s services to our clients.


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Frequently Asked Questions

How hard is it for a father to get custody in Texas?

Getting custody as a father in Texas can be challenging due to historical biases, but the legal system is evolving to promote gender equality.

How can a father win primary custody in Texas?

To win primary custody in Texas, a father should demonstrate active involvement, stability, a safe living environment, and the ability to meet the child’s needs.

What makes a father unfit for custody in Texas?

A father can be deemed unfit if there’s evidence of abuse, neglect, substance abuse, or a history of violence that endangers the child’s well-being.

What are grounds for full custody in Texas?

Full custody, also known as sole managing conservatorship, may be granted if the other parent poses a danger to the child’s physical or emotional well-being.

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Child Custody Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding child custody, it’s essential to speak with one of our Houston, TX, child custody lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our child custody lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles child custody cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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