All the important role players in the child custody system know how important it is for children to have their father’s involved in the lives. It is clear that children who have fathers positively and directly involved in their lives have fewer behavior problems, show higher levels of sociability, and perform better in school. The presumption is no longer that it best for the children to live with the mother. If a Texas father wants primary child custody in a divorce, he can make it happen.
Courts now recognize that both parents are capable of being primary on their children
As a result of the continuing evolution of fathers’ rights, Courts are now recognizing a father’s ability to care for his children as an equal to that of the mother. Starting out on an equal plane, the Court may determine which parent
- is more stable,
- has a superior income,
- has a parenting plan in place for the child,
- is capable of providing proper child care and,
- is able to spend more quality time with the child.
I represent a lot of fathers in child custody litigation and have a lot of success getting the father named as parent with whom the children primarily live. Based on my experienced, I strongly believe that if a Texas father wants primary child custody in a divorce, he can make it happen.
What a Texas father can do if he wants to have primary custody of his children.
So, based on my experience representing Texas fathers seeking primary custody of their children, I have seen a lot of ways a father can increase his chances of getting child custody. The obvious starting point is that from Day 1, the father must be a good father and spend as much quality time with his children by involving himself in as many aspects of their daily lives as possible. What does being involved in their daily life look like? It starts with being to be responsible, responsive and reliable to the needs of their kids. A father must know and participate in all aspects of their lives. This includes school activities, doctor’s appointments, extracurricular events and getting to know and bonding with their friends.
Reflect on your own personal experiences as a child growing up and think about what was really important to you and your parent’s interaction during that period.
If a father voluntarily gives up rights to his children based on prejudices of the past in the Court system, he will feed a mother’s confidence and sponsor unnecessary ongoing litigation. The number one mistake made by fathers in the court system today is a failure to take the time to learn how the system works. Failing to learn how the family law system works may doom your case. Once you have learned the ins and outs of the family law system you will need to form a viable plan, set goals and never relent in enforcing your rights as a father.
My top 5 mistakes men make in a legal action are:
- failing to respond to the legal action itself;
- obtaining incorrect legal advice (from friends and family rather than a legal expert);
- signing a settlement agreement that is not in agreement with and later deeply regretting it;
- failing to perform under the actual settlement agreement signed; and
- getting frustrated and/or acquiescing to unreasonable demands and orders.
Some of the things you may want to consider as you prepare for the custody battle are as follows:
- Who has the financial ability to best care for the child(ren)? Be sure to have income tax verification, W-2 Forms and other financial information available.
- Form a parenting plan (child care, after school care, transportation, pediatrician, etc.).
Who is more stable and/or can provide the best home for the child (ren)?
- Where has the child (ren) been attending school? Is it possible to keep the child in the same school district?
- Prepare a chronology of events leading up to the divorce including treatment of the child(ren), time spent with the child(ren), activities with the child(ren), the child(ren)’s schedule.
- Consider if a home study should be prepared regarding each home of the child.
- Consider whether a psychological evaluation should be done on the mother?
- Is drug testing necessary? (Be sure to request hair follicle drug testing.)
- Is there an alcohol or other addiction problem in the home?
- Who can provide the best moral upbringing for the children?
- Is there evidence such as pictures, video tapes, etc. that may help your case?
- Avoid unnecessary compromising photos or data on Facebook or other social networking sites.
It is clear that children who have their father positively and directly involved in their lives have fewer behavior problems, show higher levels of sociability, and perform better in school. The presumption is not longer that it best for the children to live with the mother. If a Texas father wants primary child custody in a divorce, he can make it happen.
Facing this fight? You are not alone.
A great deal of my practice is focused on helping Texas fathers learn what they must do to get primary child custody in a divorce. If want help facing this fight, call me. No charge for the initial consultation.