Texas courts base their custody decisions on what is in the best interests of the child. This means that they are typically reluctant to completely cut out one parent’s custody or visitation rights without good reason. So how can a father get full custody of his children in Texas?
What Is the Standard for a Father’s Custody Rights?
In Texas, custody and visitation rights are decided based on what is in the best interests of the child. Accordingly, the court will consider the following factors in allowing custody privileges to a father:
- Your Mental, Emotional, and Physical Health. As the child’s father, you need to be in sufficient physical, mental, and emotional condition to support your child. Substance abuse issues are evidence that you are not adequately fit to care for your child. So are prior criminal convictions and evidence of abuse, neglect, or abandonment of your spouse or child.
- Your Willingness to Be an Involved Parent Who Puts Your Child’s Needs First. A father who can demonstrate that he spent meaningful time with his child has a better chance of gaining custody. The same goes for evidence that you put your child’s needs ahead of yours. You must show that you’re willing and able to have a relationship with your child that serves their best interests.
- The Amount of Time Your Child Currently Spends With You. Courts will want your child’s life to suffer as little disruption as possible. So judges will prefer that your custody schedule matches the amount of time you currently spend with your child currently.
What You Need to Get Full Custody
When it comes to the question of how can a father get full custody, the help of an experienced child custody attorney is crucial. They can guide you through the process and arrange for everything you need to prove your case. This includes gathering expert witnesses and documentation of child abuse or abandonment by your child’s mother. You will also need evidence that your child mother’s behavior is having a detrimental effect on your child.
Are There Alternatives to Full Custody?
Texas courts are becoming more and more aware of how important it is for children to have their fathers involved in their lives. But the reality is that Texas courts are reluctant to take away any parent’s right to visit their child — especially the child’s mother.
The court may more easily agree to a custody or visitation arrangement where both parents share parental responsibilities. If you have concerns about your child’s mother’s ability to care adequately for your child, you could seek the following alternatives:
- Limited or Supervised Visitation. You could agree to restrict your child’s mother’s overnight visits if she provides an unsafe environment for your child. This requires proof that your child’s mother abuses drugs, engages in criminal activity, or otherwise neglects your child. You could also arrange for your child’s mother’s visitation to be supervised by a third party.
- Unilateral Decision-making Authority. You could also ask the judge to grant you decision-making authority. This requires proving that your child’s mother is unable to make decisions in the best interest of your child.
- Negotiated Custody Plan. You could work with your ex to work out a parenting plan that gives you nearly complete custody. The agreement should allow your child’s mother to have some visitation rights. The agreement should also include a provision that allows your child’s mother to modify their custody rights in the future.
How Can a Father Get Full Custody? Ask a Houston Child Custody Lawyer
If you’re a father and seeking full custody, an experienced Houston TX child custody attorney can help. At The Alsandor Law Firm, we prioritize your children and their welfare. Talk to us today to learn more about what you need to do to get primary child custody.