Women have been primary caregivers of children traditionally. So, in past custody cases, judges typically gave them primary custody while ordering fathers to pay child support and limiting their time to weekends and school breaks. In fact, according to Pew Research, fathers still are under pressure societally to provide financially but not nearly so much to be an involved parent.
Dads do want to involve themselves in their children’s lives, though, and many want primary custody. What do the Texas statutes say about becoming the sole managing conservator of the child?
The law states clearly that qualifications for parenting have nothing to do with the sex of the parent or the child. Also, the marital status of either parent is not relevant.
Judges will limit a parent’s access to a child if there is a history of violence or neglect, or the parent lives in an environment where the child is at risk.
Best interest of the child
The law considers it in the child’s best interests to have ongoing and frequent contact with both parents. Therefore, joint managing conservatorship is often the custody outcome as long as both parents can provide a good home.
A good home is a safe and stable one without the risk of violence. Also, conflict causes children stress, so courts want to see parents who encourage their child to maintain a close relationship with the other parent.
Ultimately, fathers are not any more likely than mothers to obtain sole managing conservatorship. However, within the joint managing conservatorship framework is a wide range of possible schedules. Fathers who want more time should make themselves available and be willing to work out a schedule that allows the child to spend plenty of quality time with both parents.