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Attempt to change Texas law regarding custody moves forward

Texas parents who are in the midst of a dispute over child custody or are concerned about it at the end of a marriage will understand how this can be an endless process rife with difficulty. Many believe that the manner in which the law operates discourages cooperation between the parents when it comes to determining the custody situation, and instead fosters antagonism. There is an effort to repair these family law issues by altering the way in which the State deals with them.

A married couple who experienced divorce in the past, and had problems with the child custody process, are formulating a challenge to the legal need for parents to engage in a dispute over their children. The couple asserts that parents who are both capable of caring for children should not need to do battle over them. When cases go to court, they often turn contentious, not due to a lack of fitness on the part of the parents, but because they both want to have custody and must convince the judge of that fact by denigrating the other. A case has been filed in federal court challenging the Texas Family Code and its applicability under the Constitution.

According to the couple's federal filing, the Constitution provides that the parents will be equals and have equal rights. Therefore, they should not have to plead for their constitutional rights. They believe that reducing the fighting is beneficial for children as they will no longer have to be in the middle of warring parents. They say that the violations to the Constitution include the authorization that judges have to interfere in parental rights based on opinion, that one parent must pay child support to the other or be confronted with criminal proceedings if they fail to do so, and it places the parents into different categories based on marital status. An injunction has been filed to stop judges from this perceived violation and the court will hear this request in the coming weeks.

Parents who are in the middle of a child custody dispute, or are planning a divorce, need to know how changes to the law or proposed changes will affect their individual situations. If the law remains the same or is changed, it can alter how they go about planning their pursuit of custody. Speaking to a lawyer with experience in Texas law and family legal issues can help.

Source:, "Corinth couple fights state for parental rights," Ashley O'Bannon-McClain, March 10, 2016

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