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Do Texas courts treat both parents equally in custody decisions?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2020 | Child Custody

When a marriage ends in Texas, fathers may have concerns about continuing a relationship with their young children. While mothers traditionally received sole custody in decades past, today state courts treat parents the same regardless of gender when making custody decisions. 

Review the factors that influence Texas child custody agreements before going to court. 

Joint managing conservatorship

Texas uses the term joint managing conservatorship to describe shared physical custody. Most parents will receive JMC by default except in cases with a history of domestic violence, abuse or neglect. While this arrangement usually requires parents to make shared decisions about the child’s upbringing, one parent may have the sole right to decide where the child lives most of the time. Usually, this person has at least 50% custody while the other parent has the child for visitation. 

Standard possession order

In addition to the conservatorship order to establish decision-making, the court will issue a standard possession order. This document sets the custody schedule and indicates when the child will spend time with each parent. Parents who wish to share custody equally or make another agreement can submit their plan to the court for approval. 

When parents cannot agree on an SPO, the judge will likely order primary custody to one parent with alternating weekends, holidays and school vacations for the other parent. If both parents seek primary custody, factors in the determination include the stability of each parent’s home, the involvement of each parent in caring for the child, the physical and emotional needs of the child and how well each parent can serve these needs.