Relationships between parents and children are carefully protected in the state of Texas. There are a set of laws that govern lawsuits affecting the parent-child relationship, including child custody suits that can impact the long-term relationship with your child.
A child custody situation that I often help parents with involves one parent attempting to gain sole custody of a child. You may even be interested to know – What are the chances of a father getting full custody?
Perhaps you’re a dad looking to gain full custody. Or, you’re a mom who is concerned about the other parent filing a lawsuit for sole custody. I’ll further explain the typical legal process in Texas so that you are informed about this custody issue and can make an educated decision about how to protect your parental rights.
Texas Prefers Shared Custody Instead of Full Custody
One of the main roadblocks for a father to gain full custody of his child is how the law is set up. Texas public policy presumes that it is in the child’s best interest for him or her to have a relationship with both parents.
The Texas Family Code makes a clear statement about legal matters concerning the parent-child relationship. Specifically, the state of Texas’ public policy is to:
- Assure the child has “frequent and continuing contact with parents” who can act in the child’s best interest
- Ensure that each parent can provide a “safe, stable, and non-violent environment for the child.”
- Encourage parents to “share in the rights and duties of raising their child” after a divorce or another form of legal separation.
This plays out in the typical assignment of duties. The court will strive to assign joint managing conservatorship to both parents unless one parent is proven to be unfit to provide care to the child. In these situations, the court will consider assigning one party as the sole managing conservator.
The Role of Gender in the Assignment of Parent-Child Duties
There is a common perception that the courts favor a mother over a father when determining custody of a child. However, Texas law states that a court should not make a decision on the parent-child relationship based on the gender of one of the parents.
According to the Texas Family Code, a court should “consider the qualifications of the parties” regardless of their sex when determining:
- Whether to appoint a party as joint managing conservator
- Which party to appoint as sole managing conservator
- The terms and conditions of conservatorship
- Possession of and access to the child (e.g., visitation rights)
For a dad looking to gain custody of your child, you should not be discouraged. You can still strive for a form of custody to maintain a positive relationship with your child.
If your ultimate goal is to gain full custody of your child, though, this becomes a larger legal issue that requires a strong argument when filing a lawsuit to pursue sole custody.
How a Father Can Argue for Full Custody of a Child
The primary way to increase his chances of getting full custody is to present a legal argument that the child is in danger.
A father would need to gather evidence and present documentation that there is a history of physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, violence, neglect, or another intentional form of misbehavior by the other parent against the child.
There is a time restriction, however. The court will consider evidence if the allegations occurred within a two-year period prior to filing a suit seeking full custody. In other words, the argument cannot be based on something that happened several years ago during the marriage that has not occurred recently.
If the situation is valid, a court will hear arguments to determine whether to assign full custody to the father. According to Texas Family Law, a judge should consider whether the following instances have occurred:
- The other parent has a history or pattern of family violence against the child
- The other party has a history or pattern of child abuse or child neglect affecting the child
- There is already a protective order against the other parent
Ultimately, the judge will act in the child’s best interest when determining whether to grant a father sole managing conservatorship and disqualify the other parent from maintaining the parent-child relationship. This is a big decision that a judge will not take lightly.
Work With a Family Law Expert to Support Your Custody Case
Whether you are a father seeking full custody or a mother looking to prevent the other party from gaining full custody, I can provide you with expert legal support.
I will work hard to understand your situation, provide you with sound legal advice, help you with legal filings, and, ultimately, argue your case before a judge. I practice family law exclusively so that I can provide my clients with the best possible legal support protecting their parental rights during suits that affect the relationship with their child.
I currently help parents in Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Harris County with suits that affect the parent-child relationship. If you live in one of these counties, contact me right away to discuss your case.
Call my offices today at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to learn more about the chances of a father getting full custody of a child and how to get started on your case. I’m here to help!