Father's Rights Attorney


Are you fed up with fighting the sys tem?

Do you feel like Mothers have an advantage over you in custody battles?

I understand your frustration. And, I know you want someone to represent you who will aggressively pursue your rights.


Contact me today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

Call: (817) 860-9900

Email: info@jenniferwiggins.com

I look forward to helping you sort through this difficult process from a position of strength and experience.

Are you wondering who gets custody of the kids in Texas?

You may feel that judges are seriously slanted toward awarding custody to mothers. In fact, a recent study of ordinary Americans in Arizona found that both male and female respondents if they were the judge would most commonly award equally shared custody arrangements. Although most of these same respondents believed that in today's court and legal environment, equal custody is awarded considerably less often and that fathers get much less parenting time than the respondents themselves would award.1 Are they right? Do Texas courts favor mothers in making custody decisions?

The standard in Texas in making a conservatorship determination is "best interest of the child." Notice I didn't say custody. The word custody actually never appears in the Texas Family Code. In our state, the parent who serves as the child's primary joint managing conservator (JMC) or sole managing conservator (SMC) is considered to be the parent with custody. So how does the judge determine what the best interests of your child are? Here's a list of common factors:

  1. Which parent can best provide for the child's physical, psychological, and emotional needs and development now and in the future?
  2. Which parent has a more stable home? [The court may not consider marital status; however, marital stability is a factor the courts consider.]
  3. How much cooperation is there between the parents? The Court will consider each parent's ability to give the child first priority and to reach shared decisions that are in your child's best interest.
  4. Which parent has better parenting skills? [Case example: father was appointed primary JMC based on parenting skills, training, devotion, and family support, along with mother's lack of family structure, quick temper, and relaxed parenting behavior (Dennis v. Smith, 962 S.W.2d 67, 72 (Tex. App.-Houston 1997, pet. denied)).]
  5. Which parent has been serving as the child's primary caregiver before the litigation?
  6. Which parent is better able to maintain close relationships between the child and other family members (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, etc.)?
  7. Where do the parents reside in relation to each other?
  8. Can the parent encourage and promote a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent?
  9. Has either parent ever knowingly made a false report of child abuse?
  10. Has there been a pattern or history of child neglect or physical or sexual abuse by one parent directed against the other parent, a spouse, or a child?
  11. Has there been any family violence?

If you're facing a child custody battle, you should study this list. There are other factors, but these are the biggies. If you haven't been extremely involved in your child's life in the past – get involved! If you live far away (or in another school district) from your child – move closer! Be proactive and keep a journal of all relevant interactions with your children, the other parent, teachers, extended family members, neighbors, etc.

Bottom line: I believe most judges care more about the kids than the parents. A family law judge's goal is to minimize the disruption to your child's life. A change in the status quo will only occur if the child's present circumstances are not working. So what is your status quo? If you don't like it – change it! Get closer, get involved, document. Oh, and hire a great attorney!


1Copyright © 2011 by the American Psychological Association. Reproduced with permission. Sanford L. Braver et al., Lay Judgments About Child Custody After Divorce, Psychol. Pub. Pol’y, and L. (May 1, 2011). The use of APA information does not imply endorsement by APA.

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