There is a general sentiment in Texas—and the United States—that, when it comes to child custody and spousal support, the courts are biased toward women. That perception is based partly on the long-held notion that children are better off with their mothers than with their fathers. Father’s rights advocates argue that this is an antiquated belief and men can raise children just as well as women. They’ve been fighting this battle in earnest since the 1980s, when the courts were undeniably in favor of women.
So, does that perception still hold water or has gender equality shifted in family law?
Some recent studies indicate that men have made serious headway. According to an exhaustive study conducted between 1996 and 2007 in Wisconsin, the cases in which women were awarded sole custody plummeted from 60.4 percent to 45.7 percent. Meanwhile, during that same period, joint custody cases—in which both parents share time equally—went from 15.8 percent to 30.5 percent. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers recently conducted a survey that demonstrates an increase in mothers who pay child support.
Based on recent trends, the court’s focus has shifted from gender to amicability. The parent who demonstrates a willingness to work with the other parent is seen as the best candidate for custody. In fact, mothers who impede a father’s right to see his children can face harsh penalties from the court.
Still, advocates say there is much work to be done to ensure men get a fair shake in divorce proceedings. If you’re facing a divorce, a Texas attorney may be able to help you ensure a fair child support ruling and keep custody of your children.
Source: slate.com, “Dad’s Day in Court,” Hanna Rosin, May 13, 2014