A lot of Texas men in unhappy relationships do not file for divorce or consider ending the relationship with the mother of their children because they believe they will be at a disadvantage if they end up in family court.

People frequently claim that mothers receive preferential treatment in the family court system. Fathers often worry that they will get lumped in with other men who don’t actively parent, despite their earnest engagement with and love for their children. When they do face divorce, men sometimes give up and concede to whatever custody demands the mother of their children makes. By better understanding how the state handles custody challenges, fit fathers can make more informed decisions about their options.

Texas law is neutral on sex and parenting roles

For there to be a statutory bias against fathers or men in family court, Texas custody laws and the laws that create obligations from parents to children would have to include sex-specific language, such as placing certain obligations on mothers and other requirements on fathers. However, the law is absolutely neutral in its approach to parental responsibilities.

It neither mentions men and women nor fathers and mothers. The neutral term parent is used throughout state custody statutes. Fathers, therefore, have all the same responsibilities and rights that mothers do. Additionally, judges typically want to do what is best for the children, and research into human development makes it very clear that the act of involvement for both parents is typically the ideal for a healthy and happy childhood and adolescence.

How can fathers better ensure that their relationship with the children isn’t at risk if the relationship with their mother changes?

Presentation is everything in family court

The judge will only have basic information about family circumstances and then whatever they witness in the courtroom to help guide their determinations on custody matters. A father can put themselves in the best position by remaining calm in family court and being respectful of the process.

Their appearance will also be important. Collared shirts, dress slacks and other professional attire can make a much better impression than the father who shows up in his work clothes or casual attire. A neat appearance, a respectful attitude and a strategy that specifically discusses the best interest of the children can all help fathers put their best foot forward in family court.

Getting appropriate legal representation is also a smart move for fathers preparing for divorce or hoping to assert their parental rights. That way, each individual can benefit from personalized guidance and insight that isn’t available otherwise.