Parents and child custody activists around the country are pushing state legislatures to change their custody laws. Specifically, the movement calls for the law to start with the presumption that the children of a divorcing couple or unmarried co-parents should spend equal time with each parent.
Most states do not presume any child custody arrangement. But Texas is an exception. In this state, family law courts presume a 75/25 custody split unless one or both parents convince the judge to rule otherwise. Though the law does not officially give preference to either gender, many fathers find that after a custody battle, they end up with 25 percent custody or else must fight hard to get more time with their kids. The numbers back this up; the state attorney general’s office reports that 92 percent of parents with majority child custody are women.
Mothers are affected too, activists say
This may seem to be an issue affecting fathers only, but some activists say the current system harms mothers too. As one woman put it to FOX 7 Austin, being the sole caregiver most of the time can hamper a mother’s career.
A bill currently in the Texas Legislature would alter the presumption to a 50/50 split. But it appears the bill will get a vote this session. As of earlier this month, the House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee had yet to hold a hearing on the matter.
Fathers fighting for their parental rights
We don’t know if Texas will ever adopt a 50/50 child custody presumption. For fathers concerned about getting a level of parenting time that truly is in their kids’ best interest, working with a divorce attorney who is experienced in fathers’ rights can help them protect their interests.