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Client-Focused Attorneys Providing Counsel, Advice And The Tools You Need To Resolve Your Family’s Legal Issues

Is there a presumption of equal child custody in Texas?

The most important consideration in any child custody matter is the children’s best interests. This includes when parents get divorced. Usually, but not always, this means each parent gets at least some regular time with the kids.

Many parents believe that their children would do best when they share child custody. While this is true in many cases, there is no rule in Texas presuming that child custody will be split 50/50. But a bill currently in the state Legislature would change that.

A major change is proposed

Advocates say that children need equal parenting time with both parents, both during the adjustment period after divorce and long-term. Currently, if parents cannot agree on an even division of physical custody, the burden is on the parent who wants equal custody to convince the family court judge overseeing their case to grant it.

The bill would flip that. If passed, it would direct judges to start with the presumption that divorcing parents will share custody evenly. If one of the parents objects, and they and their ex cannot settle the dispute themselves, the burden of proof would be on the objecting parent to show that a different custody arrangement makes more sense. This could include evidence that the other parent is unfit or unable to care for the kids.

Several factors to consider

A handful of states have some form of shared child custody presumption. But most states, including Texas, currently do not direct judges one way or the other. Instead, the law tells the judge to consider several factors, such as the children’s prior relationship with each parent, their medical and emotional needs, and so on.