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Fathers Push for Custody Law Reform

A bill will be introduced in the Texas legislature that supporters say would give fathers more rights in the care and custody of their children. Texas House Bill 453 would instruct judges that they must start with the presumption that parents should get equal parenting time.

Several other states have implemented this measure. Fathers in favor of the bill say that courts are biased in believing that mothers are the best primary caregivers.

Fathers argue that studies show that they should be as involved as possible in the lives of their children. Thus, they believe that Texas courts should start from a place of equal custody and only order another arrangement if the parties prove that equal parenting time is inappropriate.

The Current State of the Law

If the parties cannot agree to a conservatorship arrangement, a judge will decide custody based on the best interests of the children. These factors, sometimes called the Holley factors, include considering the abilities of the parents, the child’s desires and the needs of the child now and in the future.

Many times a court will award more parenting time to one parent over another in order to accommodate schooling arrangements and to promote stability.

Arguments Against the Bill

Opponents of the bill say that it takes away the freedom judges have to decide a case. A trial court judge is able to hear all the testimony in the case and get a feel for the parents and the children involved.

Currently, a trial court judge has wide latitude is coming up with a custody plan. If a trial court judge is required to start from a certain arrangement and only deviate in exceptional circumstances, this discretion is taken away. If adopted, this bill would be a major change to the Texas Family Code.

Contact a Sugar Land, TX Child Custody Attorney

The Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C. is dedicated to representing the rights of fathers and mothers involved in custody disputes. To schedule a consultation with attorney Frank J. Vendt, Jr. call our office today at (832) 263-6770 or contact us online.

1 http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/html/HB00453I.htm

2 http://www.txcourts.gov/

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