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Framing custody for dad requires understanding motives

Texas law talks the talk when it comes to expressing that the best interests of the children are met by ensuring they get what amounts to equal time with mom and dad. It's not supposed to matter whether the parents are unmarried or divorcing.

Very often, that's not how it plays out in real life. There may be circumstances in one or the other parent's lives that make it less beneficial for conservatorship to be completely balanced. If one parent earns more income, support costs might get skewed somewhat in favor of mom. Nor is every claim of paternity legitimate.

Regardless of the situation, whether a man needs protection from false paternity claims or wants to protect his parenting rights, it's important to understand what the law calls for and to work with an experienced attorney who knows the courts.

Alternatively, if a man wants to seek custody (which in Texas law is called conservatorship) or modify an existing order, it's important to frame the reasons why it would be in the child's best interest. And to do that, experts say it's a good idea to examine your own motives for seeking a change.

For example, if you can acknowledge that your desire for change stems from anger or spite felt against your ex-spouse, you might want to reconsider taking any action at all. However, if you are motivated by real concern for the well-being of your child if he or she is in the custody of someone else, that deserves to be explored more fully.

In the end, what the courts are going to want to hear is your argument for why any change would serve the best interest of the child -- with best interest being framed in regard to providing:

  • Greater emotional and mental stability
  • Improved physical and spiritual well-being
  • Solid education opportunities
  • A stable economic and financial foundation

But those broad standards need to be refined to reflect how they apply in your unique circumstances. That's one reason why working with skilled legal counsel is always advised.

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