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Child custody in Texas: do mothers really get preferential treatment?

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2021 | Family Law |

There is a common myth that when a child custody dispute goes before a judge, the mother almost always wins. Many fathers in Kaufman County going through divorce are worried that they will not get a fair shake in court.

It is true that, decades ago, family law judges tended to assume that children were better off living with their mother full-time. But in 2021, that attitude is gone. The parents’ genders have nothing to do with whether the court will order shared child custody or not.

How child custody works in Texas

Texas law makes the best interest of the child the primary concern in all child custody matters. Experts agree that children generally thrive when both parents help raise them. Thus, the baseline choice is a 50-50 shared custody, or as close to it as possible.

Of course, factors particular to you or your co-parent can affect this decision. If one parent has a history of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, the judge will almost certainly deny shared custody. The same could be true if a parent is struggling with addiction, severe mental illness or is otherwise unable to provide a safe, nurturing home for the kids.

Note that nowhere in the paragraph above do we mention gender. The court will deny custody to an unfit mother as an unfit father. But again, in most cases, divorced or unmarried parents share custody fairly evenly.

Getting to a reasonable child custody order

There are solutions to even the most complex and difficult child custody disputes. If mediation and negotiation do not work, you and your family law attorney can go to court and present your case for why your custody proposal is in your children’s best interests.