Father's Rights Lawyer in Texas Child Custody Matters
Father’s Rights – or Rather, Equal Rights – Allow Custody to Fathers
There is an old saying among lawyers that in a custody dispute, the mother invariably will receive custody. Much of the public thinks the same thing. Although at one time this was true, it is no longer. Thanks to legislative changes, fathers and mothers are equally considered when a court chooses a custodial parent in a child custody dispute. This is due, at least in part, to the fathers’ rights movement, and it is also due to transitions in our society. If you are a father and seek custody of your children, you should seek experienced child custody attorneys to represent you. Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, L.L.C., has the experience to help you.
Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, L.L.C., is a Texas father’s rights lawyer with several attorneys. The two founding partners, Shannon Boudreaux and Kevin Hunter, have significant father’s rights experience. Both attorneys attended South Texas College of Law. In law school, Ms. Boudreaux earned appointment to the Dean’s list. In her legal career, Ms. Boudreaux has been recognized for her skills as a lawyer. As a law student, Mr. Hunter competed at the varsity level in moot court competitions at Emory University School of Law in Atlanta and at Pepperdine University School of Law in Southern California. Mr. Hunter is a veteran of the United States Air Force.
The Tender Years Doctrine
For most of our history, when there was a divorce, it was simply understood that the mother would have custody of any children. In the few cases where the father contested an award of custody to the mother, the courts nearly always granted the mother custody. The courts followed the “tender years doctrine” that required the court to grant custody to the mother when the children were small because it was thought that she was in a far better position than the father to take care of them. The father had no father’s rights to dispute the doctrine. The father’s sole remedy was to attempt to prove that the mother was unfit to care for the children.
Tender Years Yield to Father’s Rights
Father’s rights received somewhat of a boost when the legislature enacted a law explicitly stating that a court could grant custody of the children to either the father or the mother. In 1984, a Texas court provided some background when it affirmed a custody award to a father. The court stated that a parent must be granted custody unless the court finds that the appointment would not be in the best interest of the child. There is a presumption that the interests of a minor are best served by award of its custody to its natural parents. . . . Thus, the burden of proof upon the issue of the best interest of the child is upon the one seeking to deprive the natural parent of custody.
Later, the Texas legislature passed a law stating that when determining custody, a court “shall consider the qualifications of the parties without regard to their marital status or to the sex of the party or the child.” Read more about Texas child custody laws.
Texas Family Courts Apply Law Impartially
All judges in Texas are required to take an oath that they will apply the law and apply it impartially to all who appear before them. The Texas legislature has stated that the best interest of the child “shall always be the primary consideration of the court.” Although it took time, the courts became more and more willing to look equally upon mothers and fathers in custody cases, following the dictates of the Texas Family Code.
Today, most judges are forthrightly open about selecting a father or a mother for custody, not because of father’s rights but because the judge wants what is best for the child. Sometimes, in bitter divorce cases, a child becomes a “prize.” One or both parents want custody of the child just to spite the other one. In this sad situation, judges more than earn their salaries by making tough decisions. And occasionally, when a custody dispute is really bad, a judge may award custody to neither mother nor father.
If you or a loved one is involved in a child custody proceeding, you should not assume that the court will award custody to the mother. There are no “father’s rights” in divorce court, just judges trying to look out for the best interests of the children. We hope you will consider Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, L.L.C., to be your lawyers if you are in a custody dispute.
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In some cases, parents can reach an agreement about all relevant issues without a court hearing. This is often accomplished through mediation. In contentious cases, however, this is not possible. When a couple is unable to work out these issues on their own, their only option is to litigate the case in court.
You Don't Have to Face This Difficult Time Alone
Are you ready to discuss your case with an experienced father’s rights lawyer in Texas? If so, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We understand how difficult it can be to go through a divorce, even if you are the one who made the decision. Our entire staff is here to offer the support, guidance, and compassionate representation you deserve.