Can a Father Really Win a Custody Battle?
If you are a father, and divorce is in your near future, custody of your minor children may be a hotly contested issue in the divorce. More and more fathers refuse to sit idly by while the mother is awarded primary custody (referred to as “managing conservatorship” in Texas). If you are one of those fathers, you may be leery to fight a battle you don’t believe you can win. Before you give up without a fight, Fort Worth father’s rights attorney Jon Boyd explains that a father can win a custody battle in Texas.
Stereotypical Parenting Roles Have Changed
Just a couple of generations ago, parental roles were fairly set in stone. The father went to work each day to provide for the family financially while the mother stayed home and managed the home and the children. Although divorce was no where near as prevalent as it is today, it did occur. When the parents of minor children divorced, it was all but a foregone conclusion that the mother would be awarded custody of the children, relegating the father to a weekend visit once a month. We’ve come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. Today’s parenting roles are anything but stereotypical. Mothers now regularly work outside the home with many contributing equally to the family finances and some taking the role of family breadwinner. At the same time, fathers now contribute equally to managing the home and raising the children with more and more of them taking the role of stay at home parent. These shifting parental roles have prompted changes in the law as well.
Texas Law on the Issue of Conservatorship
If you plan to seek managing conservatorship of your minor children in your Texas divorce, you need to understand the law as it applies to a determination of conservatorship. Texas Family Code Section 153.003 mandates that a “…court shall consider the qualifications of the parties without regard to their marital status or to the sex of the party or the child in determining:
which party to appoint as sole managing conservator;
whether to appoint a party as joint managing conservator; and
the terms and conditions of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.”
In practical terms, what that section means is that a judge/jury cannot start with a presumption that the mother should be awarded conservatorship of the minor children. Both parents must be considered separately on their merits and without a bias.
Increasing Your Odds of Winning Custody
If you want to be awarded custody (managing conservatorship) of your children in your divorce, one of the first things you should do is consult with an experienced father’s rights lawyer. Ideally, you should do so prior to the initiation of the divorce proceedings. In addition, it will be crucial for the court to see that you have been, and continue to be, an important part of your children’s lives. While being able to financially support your children will be a factor, contributing in a meaningful way to their day to day lives will be of equal – if not greater — importance. If you separate from your spouse before retaining an attorney, make every effort to continue participating in school and extra-curricular activities. When forced to make decisions relating to minor children, a court must make those decisions using the “best interest of the child” standard. Ultimately, this means that the court wants to know that awarding you managing conservatorship is the best thing for the children. Being able to show the court that you have always played a significant role in raising your children, and that you wish to continue to do so after the divorce, is one of the most important keys to winning custody.
Contact a Fort Worth Father’s Rights Attorney
If you are planning to end you marriage and you foresee a custody battle for your minor children being part of that divorce, contact an experienced Fort Worth father’s rights attorney at Boyd Family Law to schedule your appointment today.