Fathers of today in Texas now have a better chance of getting shared custody of their children after a divorce. According to one law professor, the evolving notions about the father's role in a child's life and social acceptance of divorce are two factors responsible for the higher rate at which family courts are awarding shared custody.
Legal custody is one type of child custody that gives parents complete authority to make decisions regarding their children's religion, education, health care and other aspects of wellbeing. The other type of child custody, residential/physical custody, concerns where the children reside at night.
The divorce laws in every state will vary. However, the family courts are using a presumption of joint legal custody as a beginning point when considering how to award child custody. Because residential custody is impossible to divide equally due to logistical issues, mothers still tend to be favored when the courts divide residential custody.
There were also other changes that were occurring during the 1970s and 1980s that could account for the substantial shift in how the courts have been awarding joint child custody. The rates at which women were entering the workforce were increasing, childcare services were becoming more available and women were being encouraged by feminist principles to make the most of each.
A family law attorney could help a client obtain their desired child custody terms in a divorce. The attorney may work to resolve disputes regarding visitation times, parental relocation, joint custody and changes in existing child custody orders. If necessary, the attorney may litigate to protect the rights and interests of a parent.