On behalf of The Law Offices of Mary Ann Beaty, PC posted in Fathers’ Rights on Wednesday, February 15, 2017.

Proponents of fathers’ rights argue that divorced mothers receive a preference for child custody from family courts in Texas. Although a father may engage in costly and lengthy litigation, he may receive only visitation rights. A recently introduced bill may help provide equal footing for fathers.

Texas House Bill 453, authored by State Rep. James White (R., Woodville), would grant mothers and fathers equal custody. It would not affect child support decisions. The proposal would not allow judges to approve anything harmful to the children, according to its sponsor.

Currently, family court judges usually approve a custody agreement reached by the spouses. However, mothers are often granted full custody and fathers only receive rights to visitation, when custody is disputed. The proposed bill empowers both parents with equal custody rights.

Five other states have comparable laws governing custody. A similar bill was introduced during the 2015 legislative session in Texas, but it failed to pass. One expert objected to the bill because it does not provide any standards on what constitutes equal time.

That expert also claims that the bill’s proponents wrongly believe that family courts do not listen to fathers’ arguments. The proposed law, if enacted, would take away judicial discretion and limit judges to merely approve most custody proposals, despite the facts of the specific custody dispute.

Until the law changes, fathers may face many unequal obstacles in custody disputes. An attorney may help fathers exercise their full legal rights and help obtain a fair and reasonable custody agreement or court order.

Source: KENS, “Texas fathers fight for equal custody law at legislature,” James Whitely, Feb. 10, 2017