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House Bill 453 seeks to amend child custody

Parents who choose to end their marriages in Texas must grapple with the admittedly challenging situation of identifying child custody and associated parenting time. The natural loss of time with one's child or children that accompanies this is understandably difficult.

For parents who believe that they start the process of identifying custody in a lesser position than their to-be former spouses, the difficulty can be even greater. This is exactly the situation that some fathers in Texas believe they are in. In response to concerns that mothers may receive preferential consideration by courts when making child custody awards, a new bill has been introduced into the state legislature.

If passed, the new law would stipulate that judges must consider fathers and mothers equally from the beginning in any custody determination. This means that unless other agreements are made by the parents, joint custody and equal time for both parents with the kids may be the default starting place. This does not in any way impact a child support order that may accompany a ruling. It also does not dictate details such as when or how the equal time takes place. This would allow the circumstances of each case to continue to be evaluated appropriately.

Parents in Texas who are headed for divorce might wish to reach out to an attorney to learn about how their time with the kids may change or be protected during and after a parental divorce.

Source: WFAA.com, "Texas fathers fight for equal custody law at legislature," Jason Whitley, Feb. 9, 2017

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