The end of any relationship can be stressful, but when children are involved, potential problems are amplified greatly. Rather than two individuals simply opting to go their separate ways forever, they’re often forced to remain in each other’s lives for the sake of their children. And while every case is different, there’s a persistent belief that fathers have a lesser chance of getting 50/50 custody in Texas courts.
While this may have been true in the past — and even in certain cases today — the law regarding custodial issues for fathers has changed significantly over time.
Do Fathers Have Less Chance of Winning Custody in Texas?
There was once a time when you could fully expect a mother to come out on top in most Texas child custody hearings. That’s because there was an assumption that the mother was better suited to care for a child at home while the father worked. While this idea certainly still has its proponents, it’s become outdated in the legal arena. More women are working than ever before, and men are spending more time with their children than in the past.
Does this mean the chances of a father getting 50/50 custody in Texas are increased? That all depends on the circumstances of a case. For instance, it’s very likely that a mother will secure a better outcome if the child is young and still breastfeeding. After all, this situation essentially dictates that the mother have more time with her child. Devoid of such a situation, however, fathers now have an increased chance of securing 50/50 custody in Texas courts.
Physical Possession vs Conservatorship
There are essentially two types of child custody in Texas. We call them physical possession and conservatorship. You may have also heard these referred to as physical custody and legal custody, respectively. Physical possession refers to who the child stays with at any given time. Securing a 50/50 split for this type of custody can be difficult in court. That’s because Texas law has a presumption that a standard possession order — where the residence of one parent is designated as the child’s home — is in the best interest of the child.
A father’s chance of 50/50 custody is increased when it comes to conservatorship. This is the right of a parent to make important decisions — such as those pertaining to education, religion, extracurricular activities, and healthcare — for their child. Texas law presumes that it’s in a child’s best interest to have both parents make these decisions. This is why it’s typical for a 50/50 conservatorship arrangement to accompany a standard possession order.
Seeking a Positive Outcome in Texas Child Custody Cases
The best chance a father has for a 50/50 custody arrangement in Texas is to come to an agreement with the mother. Texas courts typically prefer parents to create their own arrangements rather than go through the confrontational nature of a trial. Of course, even custodial agreements reached by the parents will need to first be approved by the courts.
If two parents cannot reach a decision on custody amicably, they must prove why 50/50 custody or another arrangement is in the best interest of the child. This can be an uphill battle for fathers — particularly if they spend less time with their kids or leave the children in the marital home with their partner. Our law firm can help you better understand your situation and how fathers can increase their chances of 50/50 custody in Texas.