Family Courts in Texas have a reputation as being “pro-Mom” in that most people believe (rightly or wrongly) that if their divorce or child custody case proceeds to go in front of a judge, that judge will most likely award the mother with greater rights to the children as well as more time with them.
While this may have been the case across the board in the past, more and more Dads are getting close to “split” custody with their ex-wives. If you’re a Dad contemplating divorce, the immediate question that comes to find, I’m sure, is: How can this happen for me?
The Age of the Child
The biggest key for a Dad who wants to be awarded 50/50 custody in a divorce is the child's age at issue. If your child is younger than three years old, a Dad has less opportunity to be awarded split custody.
This can be for as simple a reason as the child may still be breastfeeding and, therefore, directly dependent on their mother physically being near. Other than this situation, the odds of a father getting split custody is greater in today’s world than at any time before.
The Division of Labor
One of the reasons for this positive shift towards fathers being given more respect by the courts is largely due to fathers being more active in their children’s lives than perhaps in previous generations.
It’s the Houston divorce attorneys' experience with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, that fathers take on more parenting responsibility now and will even go so far as to take jobs where they are working at home or have more flexible schedules to be present at home. What’s more- the age of women remaining in the home and men going out in the workforce is less of a reality.
Both parents are often income earners in today’s world. The fact that both parents work is a leg up for fathers. This is since mothers are no longer able to convincingly tell a judge that they will be better equipped to have more time with the children due to their being at home.
50/50 Time is Not Required Under the Texas Family Code
Texas Family Code Section 153.135 states that Joint managing conservatorship does not require the award of equal or nearly equal periods of physical possession of and access to the child to each of the joint conservators.”
The Standard Possession Order
One of the things a parent will have to overcome when asking for equal or 50/50 time with their children is that a “Standard Possession Order” is presumed to be in their best interest.
Under Section 153.252 of the Texas Family Code Provides “in a suit, there is a rebuttable presumption that the standard possession order in Subchapter F:”
- provides reasonable minimum possession of a child for a parent named as a possessory conservator or joint managing conservator; and
- is in the best interest of the child.”
Increasing the Odds of 50/50
What can dads increase the odds of them getting 50/50 custody with their soon to be ex-spouse?
Be present for your child.
If your case isn’t able to settle before going to court, asking a judge to dramatically change the lives of your children in order so that you can get 50/50 custody is extremely unlikely.
Meaning- if you weren’t always the most involved dad in the world and are only now, at the time of your Texas divorce, becoming more active, it is unlikely that the judge will throw off the status quo to suit you.
Even if the divorce has thrown off the schedule a little, as far as your daily involvement with the children, be sure to stay in communication with them and to do as much of your past roles as possible.
Remain physically with the kids as long as you can
Many parents who come into the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC for a consultation will mention that they’ve moved out of the family home already because of the acrimony between themselves and their spouses.
While this makes sense in avoiding conflict and reducing stress, it can be extremely detrimental to a father’s chances of getting 50/50 custody.
Leaving home without the kids, even for an excellent reason, can show a judge that you are not as committed to your kids as you may be professing. The best advice that can be provided to you, the reader, is to take the children with you if you intend to leave the marital home.
Keep your eye on the prize.
Never losing sight of what is most important to you in your divorce is what will help you achieve whatever goals you’ve set for yourself. After handling many divorce cases at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, I can honestly tell the reader of this blog post that the children are the most important part of any case.
A person’s whole persona, attitude, and outlook can change dramatically based on how frequently they can see their children. Remembering why you’re going through this process and who the divorce may actually stand to benefit in certain ways can go a long way towards keeping a Dad mentally fit during the Texas divorce process.
Texas House Bill 453
Texas House Bill 453 is currently pending in the House of Representatives Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee, which would seek to allow for equal custody for both parents during a divorce in Texas. While it is unlikely for this bill to advance towards becoming law in this legislative session, the bill's importance cannot be understated.
The bill's text reads that judges “Shall” enter a possession schedule that divides time equally between parents while the divorce is proceeding. As with most efforts to change the law, it may take time for this bill to move within the legislative apparatus, but its introduction does show that there is at least a perception that the law does not treat mothers and fathers the same when it comes to the subject of child custody.
While change may be afoot for divorcing fathers in Texas, the reality of the situation is that fathers need every advantage they can get when trying to win 50/50 custody of their children in a divorce.
The family law attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, realize that the most important part of representing a parent is the children involved. If you have specific questions about your family and how your relationship with your children may change due to going through a divorce, please contact our office today to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys.
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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
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 important 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 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.