In the past, courts held a bias in child custody decisions for the mother. However, Texas and other states provide equal fathers' rights for custody.
Courts previously considered the mother as being more capable of raising children while they were growing up. Courts could rule in their favor without considering fathers' rights.
Despite holding equal legal rights, fathers still must overcome obstacles. Regardless of their record and relationship with the children, courts may continue to express their long-held bias for the mothers when awarding custody.
First, it is important for fathers to keep a written record and documents relating to custody. This should include logs of every visit with the children and activities with them during the time spent with them. A record of all their financial assistance should be maintained.
Judges review a parent's relationship with their children and the priority placed on it when ruling on custody. Fathers should plan on answering questions regarding their relationship with their children. Any strains and conflicts can jeopardize custody.
Fathers should also avoid being their own worst enemy or clutching defeat out of victory. Attempts to unfairly influence the judicial process can backfire.
In other words, avoid unforced errors. Fathers should avoid conduct such as physical confrontations with their wives, showing up unannounced and taking the children for long time periods and criticizing their spouse in front of others. This behavior looks very bad and can later harm the father in court.
Finally, regardless of the outcome, the best interests of the child are paramount. Fathers should let their children know that they care for them and they will be happy and healthy under his custody. They should continue to provide emotional support and prioritize their children's health and well-being regardless of the court's custody and visitation decisions.
A parent should seek legal assistance to help ensure that their rights are protected in custody cases. An attorney can help ensure that custody and visitation decisions are fair, reasonable and in the child's best interest.
Source: Good Men Project, "3 tips for dads who want full custody of their children," Oct. 27, 2017