Divorce in Texas is hard enough as it is, but having to deal with a child custody battle makes matters even worse. A common perception among the public (and even some family law attorneys) is that the courts favor mothers, with divorcing men getting shortchanged in custody orders and having to settle for being “weekend dads.” The tide, however, has been shifting in recent years as dads increasingly fight for primary custody or 50-50 possession schedules that allow them to play meaningful roles in their children’s lives after divorce. This has brought about a growing number of men fighting for their parental rights.
If you are a father facing a custody battle, read on to learn about a father’s child custody rights in a divorce.
Texas Child Custody: The Key Terms
Child custody laws differ from state to state. In Texas, the term “custody” often gets broken down into two primary categories: “physical custody” and “legal custody.” Physical custody refers to with whom the child will primarily reside, while legal custody pertains to the right and responsibility to make major decisions about the child’s life. These decisions can encompass education, healthcare, and even religious upbringing.
Sole Custody vs. Joint Custody in Texas
In the Texas divorce process context, you’ll often come across the terms “sole custody” and “joint custody.”
Sole legal custody refers to one parent having exclusive rights and responsibilities over the child’s physical and legal aspects. The primary caregiver is typically granted sole custody, with the other parent given visitation rights.
On the other hand, joint custody implies that both parents share the responsibilities and rights concerning the child. Joint custody is further divided into joint physical custody and joint legal custody. Joint physical custody means the child spends significant time living with both parents, while joint legal custody implies both parents have an equal say in making important decisions regarding the child’s life.
Joint Custody: Understanding Joint Managing Conservatorship
As the Texas Family Code stipulates, “joint managing conservatorship” is the equivalent of joint custody. The law implies that both parents jointly share the rights and duties of their child. This arrangement applies even if the child primarily lives with one parent. The non-custodial parent, or the parent who doesn’t serve as the primary residence for the child, is usually granted visitation rights. This provision ensures both parents can maintain an active role in their child’s life, reinforcing the Texas Family Code’s emphasis on the child’s overall well-being.
Debunking the Myth: Mothers vs. Fathers Rights in Texas
A widespread misconception about Texas family law is that it favors mothers in child custody disputes. However, Texas law has moved beyond this outdated perspective. Today’s courts don’t employ a gender bias; instead, they focus on the child’s best interest. As such, fathers have the same rights and stand an equal chance in custody disputes, provided other factors align with the child’s best interests.
Factors Considered in Texas Child Custody Cases
When determining custody rights, Texas courts consider several factors. These include the relationship between the child and each parent, the physical and mental health of each parent, the stability of each parent’s home, the child’s preferences (if they’re aged 12 or above), and any instances of neglect, abuse, or violence.
The Crucial Role of an Experienced Family Law Attorney
Navigating the intricate landscape of Texas family law without an experienced attorney can be daunting. A knowledgeable attorney can safeguard your parental rights, provide sound legal advice tailored to your unique circumstances, and represent you in court if necessary. Your attorney’s role can be instrumental in helping you understand your rights and obligations, and in achieving a fair and equitable outcome for you and your children.
Advocating for Father’s Rights with Ben Carrasco
Navigating the complexities of a father’s rights in a Texas divorce can be overwhelming. As a board-certified family law attorney based in Austin, Texas, Ben Carrasco brings a strategic yet aggressive approach to your custody battle. Whether you’re a father seeking primary custodianship or advocating for joint custody, the Family Law Office of Ben Carrasco team is committed to guiding you every step of the way, fighting relentlessly for your rights and your child’s best interests.
The Next Steps: Protecting Your Rights
Understanding your rights as a father in a Texas divorce is the first step toward ensuring a favorable custody agreement. Preparedness and knowledge can significantly influence the outcome of your case. Reach out to the experienced Family Law Office of Ben Carrasco for expert advice and robust representation. Our dedicated team is committed to helping fathers navigate the challenging terrain of divorce, ensuring their rights to fair custody and visitation are upheld. We can work towards the best possible outcome for you and your children.