Child custody is one of the most emotionally challenging issues in divorce. If you are the father, you may be wondering how child custody specifically affects you. Do courts favor mothers over fathers? How does the law treat the parental rights of fathers in certain circumstances?
Our child custody lawyers in Tomball, Texas work to protect the rights of the fathers. You can count on the experienced advocacy of Bolton Law.
The Basics of Texas Child Custody Laws
Let’s start with some of the fundamentals of how child custody works in Texas. Custody is broadly divided into two categories of issues: conservatorship and possession and access.
Conservatorship is similar to what other states refer to as legal custody. It concerns the rights and obligations of parents to make certain decisions for their children. These include decisions that touch on major issues like education, medical matters, and psychiatric care.
A parent can be granted the right to make all such decisions (Sole Managing Conservatorship). Or, both parents can be given this right (Joint Managing Conservatorship).
The other issue is possession and access. This is elsewhere more commonly known as physical custody of the child. It concerns which parent the child will spend his or her time with. It also involves setting visitation schedules between the parents.
Child custody must always be decided in a manner that protects the child’s best interests. Parental preferences, and even the wishes of the child, must not take priority over the best interests standard. Ask a Tomball, Texas custody lawyer for more information about this rule.
Do Courts Favor the Mother Over the Father?
At one point in time, courts in Texas employed the “tender years doctrine.” When custody of a young child was in dispute, the tender years rule gave preference to the mothers. This meant that even if the facts were equally in favor of both parents, the mother would end up with custody anyway.
Texas judges no longer follow this rule, at least not officially. By law, courts must consider the best interests of the child in awarding custody. That means they should not begin with the presumption that either parent automatically deserves custody.
But just because the tender years doctrine is no longer official law, that doesn’t mean certain individual judges don’t automatically favor the mother. An experienced Tomball, Texas child custody attorney can ensure your right to equal treatment is protected in the courtroom.
How Else Do Texas Custody Laws Affect Fathers?
There are certain circumstances in which a man may not be recognized as the child’s father. If any of the following are true, the father may need to fight to establish his parental rights:
- The father and mother were not married when the child was born
- The father was not living with the child for the first two years of the child’s life
- The father did not acknowledge his paternity
- The father voluntarily and knowingly abandoned the pregnant mother
You could be at risk of losing your rights as a father if any of these are true. That means no right to visit with or have custody of your child. If any of these scenarios apply to you, or your parental rights are in danger, contact a Tomball, Texas child custody lawyer.
Our Tomball Custody Lawyers Are Ready To Serve You
Don’t let your custody rights as a father be put in jeopardy. We work with men to help them establish, maintain, and modify custody orders. Our firm walks them through each step of the custody process so they understand what to expect. We know you have options when it comes to legal representation.