When parents in Texas decide to divorce or break up, some may believe that the mother is always or even more likely to win custody in court. However, this is not always true and largely relies on the individual couple. State policy in Texas and across the country favors the strong involvement of both parents in a child’s life, although the child’s relationship with both of their parents and their existing experience of primary caregivers may come into play. Family courts are charged with representing the best interests of the child first.
Historic views of child custody
In the past, courts often assumed that mothers were primary caregivers and were perhaps more likely to award child custody to them. However, in many cases, fathers were also much less likely to actively seek custody in court. Today, when fathers actively pursue custody, they are likely to receive at least shared physical custody. While the majority of primary custodial parents are mothers, there are a number of reasons for this that are unrelated to any potential bias. Some fathers seek only visitation rather than custody; the same is true of some mothers. Lifestyle, employment and living situation may all play a role in custody decisions.
Aiming for joint custody
In general, family law courts want to achieve a workable solution for an entire family rather than perpetuate disputes between parents, which may risk the best interests and emotional health of the children involved. Courts tend to prefer joint legal custody, even when the child spends more time at one parent’s home than that of the other. With joint legal custody, both parents are equally responsible for making decisions about a child’s upbringing, health care and education.
The modern custody process involves dividing parenting time and developing a custody schedule that reflects the importance of both parents. Parents of all genders have a right to a deep and active role in raising their children and to protect those rights in family court.