Divorce is a challenging ordeal for any father who has children through marriage. While Texas courts prefer that the father and mother share equal custody of children following a divorce, there are times when the court will consider an argument for full custody – or sole legal custody.¡
You may have questions such as, “How can a father get full custody of his child in Texas?” You may also want to know what evidence you need to present to support your argument for sole custody.
We’ll unpack these legal issues and provide you with valuable information about how to fight to protect your parental rights and support the valuable relationship with your child.
What is Your Divorce Scenario Regarding Child Custody?
There are two common scenarios where a father may be looking to gain full custody of a child:
- Arguing for full custody during the divorce process.
- Seeking to modify the original child custody order after a divorce.
Let’s dive into these scenarios to provide you with information that fits your situation.
1. Seeking Full Custody During a Divorce
During a divorce, you may want to present an argument for full custody of the child(ren) and not allow the mother to have access to them following the divorce.
Arguing for full custody is difficult, as you must present very strong evidence to compel a judge to agree to this. The reason why is that the Texas Family Code makes it clear that a judge should initially consider shared conservatorship of the children. The public policy in Texas is to:
- Assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who are fit to act in the best interest of the child.
- Encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the divorce.
- Provide a safe, stable, and non-violent environment for the child to live.
However, not every case checks all these boxes. That’s why a judge will ultimately act in the child’s best interest.
Texas law states that “the best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.”
The success of your argument for full custody will hinge on the strength of the evidence arguing that it would be in the child’s best interest to only live with you and that the mother should not have access.
2. Seeking Full Custody After a Divorce
What often happens is that fathers seek sole custody sometime after the divorce is completed. It could be months or even years later after the original court order was signed as part of the divorce.
Perhaps you and your ex-spouse started with joint physical custody and followed a family parenting plan that worked for both parties. But something drastically changed with the other spouse, or there was a major event that affected the child’s relationship with the other parent.
Now, you are compelled to seek full custody of the child to protect their interests and prevent the other spouse from having access to the child. This argument is challenging because you will need to argue to the judge why the original order is no longer sufficient and should be modified to reflect the new situation.
If you believe the mother is no longer fit to care for the children, there has been a “material and substantial change in circumstances,” and you have evidence to support your argument, then you can pursue a modification of the original custody order to argue for sole custody.
Evidence Required to Argue for Full Custody
Whether you are pursuing sole custody during the divorce or after a divorce, the quality and strength of your evidence is critical. You need as much solid evidence as possible to reach the threshold of proving that you should have full access to the child.
The Texas Family Code states that when a judge determines whether to appoint one party as a sole managing conservator, the court shall consider the evidence related to the following situations:
- Intentional use of abusive physical force against the child.
- Evidence of sexual abuse against the child.
- Physical or sexual abuse by one parent against the other parent or a child.
- Credible evidence of a history or pattern of child neglect.
A judge should also consider these other factors related to living situations:
- Whether living with the other parent would endanger the child’s physical health or emotional welfare.
- Whether living with you would protect the safety and well-being of the child who has been a victim of family violence committed by the other parent.
The key for fathers trying to obtain full custody of a child is to have the appropriate evidence that builds the strongest possible case on your behalf. You will want to gather evidence that includes:
- Text messages, emails, voice mails, or other direct communication to you or the child.
- Internet communication (e.g. social media posts) or additional evidence that captures the other parent’s mental condition.
- Testimonies from individuals who have witnessed abuse or neglect.
- Written police statements about incidents involving the other parent.
- Other forms of evidence that may be pertinent to your case that prove it would be in the child’s best interest to only live with you and deny the other parent access.
The key to remember is that you face the burden of proof to argue for full custody. Otherwise, the judge will typically lean toward joint or shared custody.
Our team of family law attorneys will work directly with you to help gather the appropriate evidence that supports your case. Working with a team of expert attorneys can help increase your chances of getting full custody.
How Can a Father Get Full Custody of His Child? Work with Us
We are here for fathers throughout South Texas. We will review your situation, answer questions you may have about custody issues, and help you file the appropriate legal paperwork on the path to arguing for full custody.
Our attorneys are very experienced with custody cases in Texas and will fight to protect your parental rights in family court. You will benefit from having our law firm on your side when a judge makes custody decisions.
We currently support fathers in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, and Matagorda County. If you live in one of these counties, contact us today to discuss your child custody situation.
You can reach our offices at 979-267-7660 (Angleton office) or 281-944-5485 (Sugar Land office) to speak with one of our helpful attorneys. We can help answer more of your questions related to “How can a father get full custody of his child in Texas?” and provide you with other support during or after a divorce. We’re here to help fathers seeking full custody.