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Fathers gather in state capitol to support father's rights bill

The rights of Texas fathers to gain custody may have been bolstered recently when fathers gathered in Austin to voice their support for a bill that would provide equal parenting time as one option for parents, according to state legislators. Among the leaders of the group was the father of a 10-year-old son. He says he has been fighting for his right to shared custody since his son was born.

Recounting his personal struggle for equal custody, the man said the battle has cost him all of his savings along with all of his retirement benefits. He has amassed credit card debt amounting to tens of thousands of dollars, and he continues to make monthly payments to the attorney who is helping him with his case. The bill supporting equal custody rights would allow a judge the option to grant equal custody to parents once their divorce is finalized. The measure is widely seen as fostering father's rights, recognizing the fact that children generally do better when both parents have equal roles in their lives.

Most of the fathers who showed up in the capitol building say too many fathers are only granted limited custody or visitation that effectively limits their influence on their own children. Most believe their presence would be positive and allow their children to learn from their fathers.

Critics of the bill, however, say increasing the amount of time fathers are allowed with their children could mean children would experience less stability in their lives, not more. In addition, more litigation would follow, these critics allege.

Proponents of the bill, on the other hand, say the final decision would still remain in the hands of a judge who has the legal obligation to meet the best interests of any child who has been through a separation and divorce.

Source: .CBS DFW, "Texas Fathers Take Fight For Equal Custody To State Capitol," J. D. Miles, April 15, 2015

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