A subject that is near and dear to my heart is that of fathers’ rights in Texas related to family law cases. No, fathers do not have specific rights laid out in the Texas family code compared to mothers but this is a popular subset of the area of family law and I believe it has some merit given the perception in many circles that women and mothers are favored in family law cases compared to men in fathers. While the law explicitly states that no preference is to be given when determining custody roles for men or women the reality of the situation is that women in mothers are perceived to be at an advantage when it comes to assigning custody rights and determining visitation.
When the perception is so overwhelmingly favorable towards mothers than fathers, I believe that there is some merit in discussing this issue in depth so that any fathers out there Who believe that their case is lost before they even started can understand that no family law case is decided in a vacuum. The fax, circumstances and relationships evident in your case will determine how well you do in terms of accomplishing the goals you have set forth for yourself in your child custody or divorce case.
The Texas family code explicitly states that no preference is to be given to mothers or fathers when determining capacity issues. That means that a judge is not going to assume that because your spouse is a woman that she is better capable of managing the day-to-day life of your children. The same can be said for you as a father. It will not be assumed that you are not equipped to handle matters related to your children only because you are a father. No presumption of this sort will be made in the family code forbids any kind of preference being given to either parent based on their sex or gender.
You may be surprised to learn that many fathers believed that the family code not only doesn't state something like this but that it states specifically that mothers are to be given preference when it comes to issues related to custody and custody rights. I think somewhere along the line A history of cases going against fathers, the perception that fathers are mostly deadbeat dads or something similar have all come together and given men the impression that their relationships with their kids do not matter. I can tell you from experience that this is not the case and that this incorrect stereotype should not prevent you from moving forward with a family law case of your own.
I have seen first-hand how damaging it can be to children for a father not to play an active role in their lives. It can be extremely frustrating to see a father enter in do a family law case and immediately start acting as if he is the second best parent not based on the circumstances of the family but more so based on the rumors, stereotypes and false perception that fathers matter more when it comes to paying child support and things of that nature rather than actually being able to build a relationship with their children.
With that said, I would like to take some time to discuss with you what rights and duties apparent has in relation to their children in a divorce or child custody case. Once we have established the basics of custody, conservatorships, visitation in possession we can then get into more specific issues related to father's in a family law context. While mothers and fathers are largely treated equally in a family law case by a court, I have noticed that some fathers take on characteristics that are similar and as a result I want to discuss those issues right now.
Issues related to custody in a Texas family law case
Whether you are going through a child custody or divorce case, you need to know about the basic components of each so that you are better prepared for when your case begins. For starters, a child custody case does not merely deal with dividing time between you and your Co parent with your child. Yes, possession and visitation are big parts of a child custody case but so are issues regarding conservative ship and child support. Conservatorships refers to the rights and duties that a parent has in relation to their children. As a conservator of your child you have the right to make decisions on their behalf, to spend time with your child Ann have duties associated with providing the basics and life for him or her. What we refer to more commonly as custody is more accurately defined as conservatorships.
Child support is another issue and topic that is covered in divorce and child custody cases. The parent with whom the child does not reside with primarily will be assigned the duty to pay support to the other parent in order to make sure that that child has the basics of life such as shelter, food, clothing of basic education and things of that nature. The Texas family code outlines certain guidelines for paying child support which are set into place in many Texas family law cases. However, keep in mind that parties such as yourself are able to negotiate with the Co parent and create your own structure for child support.
Finally, visitation, possession and access issues are also determined within a child custody case. These are the issues related to time that many parents focus on a great deal during the child custody or divorce case. This is understandable given that we value our time with our kids such a great deal. However, keep in mind that all of the issues in your family law case that we have discussed briefly are important and should have some time devoted to between you and your attorney.
All of these issues have a relationship with each other, and none should be decided in a vacuum. Ideally, all of these issues will be weighed together and negotiated upon with the understanding that one impacts the other in a symbiotic and sometimes adverse aerial relationship. Given this, UN your attorney she be prepared Tim negotiate each subject and to have evidence in strong reasoning backing you up in regard to any of these subjects. Keep in mind that you can wander into a child custody case, but you cannot wander out of a child custody case with the result that you like.
Rather, I recommend that you be as intentional as possible when it comes to negotiating issues regarding child custody and to have developed plans with your attorney on how to negotiate a case and on how to try a case should it become necessary for you to take your case before a judge. There is a fine line between being reasonable with your Co parent in negotiation an completely bowing down to her when you are push back upon. If you do so out of a misguided idea that a judge will never side with you and issues related to custody, then you should read on and find out why that is not necessarily the case.
How court determines custody issues and how men approach this subject
Right off the top, I want to talk about how unlikely it is your child custody case will actually go before a judge. The most likely outcome to your family law cases that you and your Co parent will settle the case in mediation. This means that you will never have to go before a judge and much of what I talked to you about in this section today will be moved. However, I think it bears mentioning that there is a possibility that your case may go before a judge. As a result, you should be prepared to give testimony before a judge an understand how a judge will decide your case in all likelihood.
A judge must make decisions in relation to your child custody case with the best interest of your child in mind. Otherwise, he or she is given fairly wide discretion as to how to decide issues regarding this subject. The best interests have your child is a pretty broad standard to go by and that is done on purpose. The state of Texas wants to allow family court judges to build the user experience and opinions to make determinations on a case by case basis.
This means that the personal impressions of your judge as well as the specific circumstances in your case are the most important factors to keep in mind. Therefore, you cannot rely upon the opinions or experiences of other people to dictate how you should feel about your case. So much of your cases depends on the specific facts of your case and your specific judge that listening to other people about their experiences in family law cases will likely not be all that helpful.
When it comes to fathers in their approach to child custody cases you need to understand that much of the case will be decided before you ever step foot in court. This means that your history as a father will be looked at and decisions will be made about custody, conservatorships, Visitation in possession based in large part on your track record as a parent. This means that if you are an involved in active part of your child's life then you have every right in the world to expect an equal shot at becoming a primary Conservatory of your child. On the other hand, if you have not displayed a willingness or ability to act in this way towards your child then you should not expect that a family court judge will consider your case to be a primary conservator as strongly as your spouse.
Where fathers 10 two misstep in relation to their custody case is at the very beginning. I cannot tell you how often fathers go into a family law case with the idea that they're playing for 2nd place. As long as I get some time with my kids, many fathers will tell me, I will be happy. Meanwhile this father could have been a terrific parent who is active and involved in their child's life. Even so, the perception that mothers have a preference in the eyes of a judge when it comes to being named as primary conservator tends to dictate how fathers act in a case. Fathers tend to take a back seat to mothers when it comes to making aggressive plays for primary conservatorships and time with the kids. I think this is a mistake.
Another important point to keep in mind is that fathers need to be intentional during the case. This means that you cannot rely upon your attorney to develop a strategy for you or two prepare for hearings, mediations or trial period you must be as active A purchase print in your family law case as you are an active parent. This means developing case strategies with your attorney, helping to provide your attorney with evidence, documents and information as needed and working too take advantage of all the time that you are given with your child during the divorce. If you can remember these basic pieces of advice, then you will be in a good position to start your child custody case off on the right foot.
Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
if you have any questions about the material contained 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 consultation six days a week in person, over the phone and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about Texas family law as well as about the services that our law office can provide to you as a client. Thank you for your interest in our blog and we hope you will join us again here tomorrow.