How to Win Child Custody for Fathers in Texas


How to Win Child Custody for Fathers in Texas text overlay, a father carrying their child on their shoulders while holding his hands

Fathers seeking sole custody of their child in a divorce or child custody case may feel discouraged, believing the myth that mothers always win primary custody. Historically, it’s true that mothers typically were awarded sole managing conservatorship of the child or children, but more and more, Texas family courts are taking a closer look at the important role a father can play when active in a child’s life. If you’ve been an engaged father and want to win custody of your child, it’s important to work with an experienced family law legal team.

If your case goes to trial, a judge will act in the child’s best interest. However, these tips (and the help of a lawyer) can help fathers learn how to win custody and navigate the Texas family court system.

How to Get Child Custody in Texas

Single parenthood is challenging, so before you seek full custody in Texas, take an honest look at your life and obligations to ensure being in the primary caregiver role is truly in your child’s best interest.

Preparation is key to presenting a solid case to a family law judge about why you should be the sole managing conservator of your child in Texas. You and your lawyer can make a plan for court using these tips.

Don’t Abandon Your Parental Duties

Even if you’ve moved out of the family home during divorce proceedings, you still have obligations to your child. You can alternate pick-up duties with your ex so that each of you picks the child up from school or takes them to and from sports practice or other activities. Remaining an engaged parent and being active in your child’s life will show a judge that you take your parental responsibilities seriously.

Form a Parental Plan

Divorce can take a long time to conclude, especially if there are substantial assets to inventory and distribute. If you’re living separately from your ex and your child, it’s important to form a workable parenting plan until the divorce decree and custody arrangements are final.

If you cannot come to an amicable arrangement with your ex, you may petition the court to issue temporary orders for custody. This can include where the child goes to school and when the child lives with which parent. Even if you travel for work, you can still be an engaged and active father and create a parenting plan to give you plenty of time with your child when you’re back in town.

Prepare Evidence

When you have parenting time with your child, make sure to document what you do. Include photos of bath time and your bedtime routine, noting when you help with homework or a school project, and photos or videos of you two playing together. You want to showcase how you actively engage with and play a daily role in your child’s life as a father.

If you do not have your child on certain days, arrange daily video chats and record those, showing that you have a good, consistent relationship with your child.

Have All Financial Information Ready

This includes insurance statements showing you pay the child’s health insurance, receipts from clothing and personal care items you purchase for them, and receipts for activity or sports fees.

Cooperate with Your Ex and the Court

Even if you disagree with temporary orders or a judge’s decree, you still must cooperate with them. You may have an easier time getting your ideas for a parenting plan approved if you can show the judge that you’re willing to co-parent amicably with your ex. You don’t have to like your ex, but you do have to put your feelings aside when it comes to making good decisions for your child.

If you flout a judge’s orders, such as assigned visitation or custody times, you could be held in contempt of court, according to the Texas Family Code.

Contact an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in Texas

Texas family courts have specific rules for presenting evidence for child custody cases. An attorney can help you present your evidence for full custody and properly ask the courts to grant it. They can also provide valuable advice to help you make smart decisions for your case.

How Judges Make Custody Decisions

Judges look at the family dynamic and determine what custody arrangements are in the best interest of the child. Usually, the court grants primary custody to the actively involved parent or the one offering a secure living environment.

Can a Non-Biological Father Get Custody of a Child?

Yes, but only in limited circumstances. For example, if the mother is married to a man who isn’t the child’s father, the biological father is terminating parental rights to the child, and the mother’s husband wants to adopt the child, then the child could be adopted and would legally become the son of the adoptive father. If the mother and adoptive father divorce, the adoptive father could petition for child custody.

Or, if a child’s biological mother and father die, another man may establish parental rights over the child, such as being named a guardian or conservator. In that case, the man may obtain custody of the child.

A Texas family law judge will look at what living situation is the safest and most stable for the child, so if a non-biological father can demonstrate that he’s a willing, able, and stable parent, then a judge may grant him custody.

Do Mothers Have to Pay Child Support to the Father in Texas?

a father who won his child custody case holding their happy child while smilingYes, sometimes. If the father is the primary custodial parent, then a Texas family court may order the other to pay child support. Child support is determined based on the paying parent’s income and assets and the number of children the paying parent must support. The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) provides a calculator for determining the exact child custody amount that follows the guidelines found in Texas’s statutes.

Do You Need Help Getting Custody of Your Child?

Contact Smith Family Law today for a confidential consultation with a family law attorney. Our experienced child custody lawyers in Texas can help you gather evidence to support your petition for full custody and child support and give you insightful legal advice to make the best choices for you and your child. Call us today at (512) 277-3166.

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Written by: Smith Family Law

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