In Texas, custody may be decided by a judge or by a jury. In most cases it will be a judge. Both a judge and a jury are prohibited from considering gender in making the decision of whom the child lives with. However, both judges and juries tend to bring their own preferences with them into the courtroom, even when they are instructed not to.
In many cases, the tie goes to the father.
Most people have personal experience with the woman being the primary caretaker of the child. Many parents feel like this means that the woman is the default choice, and that unless the father can show that something is wrong with her, the court is going to give the child to the mother. However, the personal experiences of the judge or jury can work against the woman. Parenting is extremely personal, and most people are judgmental of parents who make different choices than they do. If the father can demonstrate that he has been the primary caretaker of the child, or that he is the more nurturing parent, he is frequently awarded custody. In fact, I would say that in many cases, the tie goes to the father.
Men considering pursing custody should ask themselves:
- Who has been the parent more likely to ensure that the child eats regularly?
- Who buys the child clothes?
- Who selected the child’s daycare?
- Who has met with the child’s doctor?
- Who has met with the child’s school?
- Who does the child want when they are upset?
If the answer to these questions is the father, than it is the father who should be getting custody. Anytime that you walk into a courtroom, there is a possibility of a surprise judgement. If you can get a reasonable settlement outside of the courtroom, you should. Custody battles are extremely expensive and stressful. However, if you are the parent most closely bonded to your child, your child is worth fighting for. Most men underestimate how well they would do in court. Only an attorney who has done an extensive consultation with you and who has experience in your court can give you a real idea of where you would stand.
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