Father's Have Equal Rights In Tarrant County

When it comes to child custody and support, fathers often assume that the court will automatically require them to pay support for children they won't get to see. At Hoppes & Cutrer, we understand the feeling. There was a time when it was a foregone conclusion that the mother would get sole custody of the children in a divorce.

Gender is not a factor under Texas family law, and that way of thinking is changing in courts in Tarrant County.

With women gaining advantages in the workplace and having increasing opportunities to advance in their careers, there are often situations where the men are taking on more of the child rearing duties in families. In those situations, the father receiving "custody" of the children in a divorce is no longer a foreign concept.

It is also becoming more common for the parents to have equal time with the children. This is often called a 50-50 possession schedule — and we can help explain this for you in detail.

Understanding The 'Joint' Presumption

In the Texas Family Code, there is a presumption that the mother and the father shall be appointed joint managing conservators of the children. This does not mean a 50-50 schedule. One parent still has the primary right of possession of the child and the other parent has a possession schedule and is obligated to pay child support.

The key to the "joint" in joint managing conservators is the rights and duties that the parents have. The Texas Family Code does provide for one parent to be the primary parent and that the other having the "standard possession order." The parent with the standard possession schedule is almost always ordered to pay child support, so make sure you have an experienced lawyer by your side.

Many years ago one parent, most often the mother, would be the sole managing conservator with all the rights and duties with regards to the children. The father had no rights regarding:

  • Receiving information from the children's doctors
  • Receiving information from the children's teachers
  • Making other decisions regarding the children

Under the law that is in place today, both parents have the right to receive information about the children. Some of the decisions the parents make can be joint and others can be the exclusive right of one of the parents.

In spite of the Family Code, parties can agree to share equal time with the children. In certain circumstances, judges in Tarrant County will order a 50-50 schedule. If a case is going to a hearing or a final trial, the judges will look at the evidence and decide what orders are in the best interest of the child.

For example, if a father can show that during the marriage he was the person who accepted the most of the duties of child rearing, the judge might order the father to be the parent with the primary right of possession. Each case is different so having a professional, experienced attorney represent you will help uncover all of your rights.

Have An Expert In Family Law On Your Side In Tarrant County

Our attorneys are certified as experts in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization — few attorneys are. They also practice exclusively in Tarrant County, so that they know the courts and the judge who will preside over your case.

Call our office in Hurst at 817-864-8594 or send us your information using our confidential form online.