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Archive for the ‘Child Custody’ Category

Gender Bias in the Lone Star State: Do Texas Judges Favor Women in Custody Disputes?

Posted on September 22nd, 2017

Close-up Of Male Judge In Front Of Mallet Holding DocumentsTexas law favors joint child custody because the courts want children to have meaningful relationships with both parents. Unfortunately, joint conservatorship is not always possible.

In order for true joint custody to work, parents must be willing to give priority to the child’s needs. It may not be practical if the parents live far apart, or if the parents cannot set aside their differences when dealing with their child. When joint conservatorship is impractical, the judge must choose which parent is awarded custody.

How The Judge Makes a Decision

The Texas Family Code calls for judges to use “the best interests of the child” as the determining standard. They must consider many factors, such as the resources and programs available to the parents, the stability of the home, and the physical and emotional needs of the child.

While individual judges may feel differently, it is traditional to assume women have spent more time caring for their children than fathers. This may sway the decision toward the mother. However, you are allowed to present evidence in Texas to prove that the children would be better off with their father and to show that he is already heavily involved in childcare.

Overcoming Gender Bias

In the past, courts often decided custody hearings based on the Tender Years Doctrine, a presumptive belief that children were better off with their mothers when they were young. Texas has laws which require judges to consider both parents equally, instead of favoring the mother. But the prejudice may still exist, if not confronted and overcome.

Studies in several states show that many judges still favor the mother, or that attorneys believe that fathers are often not treated fairly. At least one Texas study found that judges could not say they gave fathers fair consideration, and members of the Bar agreed.

Even when confronted with the question directly, judges admit that they understand their obligation but do not always overcome their own bias. The rules of judicial conduct require them to be impartial, but they cannot always get past their own prejudice. It is important to meet this reality head-on when litigating a custody case.

Contact an Experienced Child Custody Attorney

Lawyers often make decisions based on what they believe judges will decide and may make strategic decisions in your custody case because of these perceptions. In order to have a fair playing field, you will have to ask for it. The law is on your side if you want to present evidence that you, as a father, have as much to offer or more as the mother does.

It is important to present your case with a fair and experienced attorney. Contact us today to see how we can help you overcome the gender-bias in your custody case!

Categories: Child Custody

Divorce and Your Kids: What to Know about Child Custody in Texas

Posted on April 21st, 2017

Child on a swing, inbetween her divorced parentsChild custody and divorce laws in Texas are designed to create the best possible outcome for any kids involved in the process. Learning more about child custody can help you understand the process and what to expect as we work through the divorce process.

6 Things to Know About Child Custody in Texas

Texas courts prefer both parents stay involved: Unless there is a clear reason, Texas courts are reluctant to give sole custody to a single parent. Joint custody or conservatorship is far more common and considered to be in the best interest of the child. Both parents are expected to play an active role in the child’s life and to work together in that child’s interest.

You must live in Texas for six months: Your child must have lived in the state for six months before custody can be awarded. You can’t arrive in the state and immediately file for custody. Your child’s other parent must live in the state as well or they must be notified of the proceeding. If you have just moved to Texas, you’ll need to provide names and contact information for everyone your child has lived within the past five years and all his previous addresses.

Orders can be modified: A child custody can be modified here if needed and if the court determines a modification is in the best interest of the child. Situations change and so do the needs of the children involved, so changes and modifications to the custody or child support order can happen over time.

Child custody is conservatorship in Texas: Here in Texas, child custody is called conservatorship and there are two types: Joint Managing and Sole Managing. The courts strongly prefer the Joint Managing Conservatorship model, with both parents playing an active role in the child’s life. Unless there is abuse, neglect or other harmful activity, conservatorship is usually joint in Texas.

The best interest of the children involved leads the process: Decisions, orders, and plans involving custody issues are always decided based on what is best for the kids involved.

Kids get a say: Your kids can state a preference to the court if they are over the age of 12; the judge will consider their preferences and opinions when making a decision.

A Texas Child Custody Attorney Can Help

If you are considering divorce or have already separated and have kids, it is essential to have a family law attorney on your side. The next few months will be critical and will have a big impact on your life and your children’s lives and future. Contact us to ensure you have a child-friendly team working on your behalf and to gain the best possible outcome for you and your kids as you go through the divorce process in Texas.

Categories: Child Custody
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