Texas lawmaker proposes equal parenting child custody law

A Texas lawmaker has introduced an equal parenting bill, but the proposal has been criticized by many family law experts.

Critics of proposal say custody should be decided on a case-by-case basis

A Texas lawmaker has introduced a bill in the state capitol, proposing equal parenting child custody law that would encourage equal parenting time between both parents, according to CBS Dallas-Forth Worth. The bill would give judges the option of ordering an equal split in parenting time in child custody┬ácases unless there was evidence that such a split would not be in the child’s best interests. The proposal has the support of fathers’ rights advocates, but critics say the legislation would have unintended consequences that would ultimately hurt the ability of families to make their own parenting decisions.

Equal parenting law

The bill, which is currently in committee, would allow judges to order that each parent receive the same amount of parenting time in child custody decisions. Exceptions to equal parenting would be made in cases where equal time would be detrimental to the child’s well-being.

Advocates for the equal parenting law complain that judges are often biased against one parent, usually, they claim, the father. They point to studies showing that children who are raised by both parents tend to be more well-adjusted later on as adults.

Flaws in equal parenting

Equal parenting proposals are hardly unique to Texas. According to the Wall Street Journal, a total of approximately 20 states are currently considering similar measures. Equal parenting, however, is not without its own set of problems. Critics point out that presuming that children are best served by equal time with both parents removes an important aspect of judicial discretion and essentially treats all families to a “one-size-fits-all” solution.

Furthermore, critics contend that the vast majority of parents already agree to a parenting schedule without the help of a judge, which suggests that an equal parenting law may be unnecessary. They point out that those parents who do end up needing a court to decide a parenting schedule are usually at such odds with one another that an equal parenting schedule may not be in the child’s best interests in such cases anyway. Most worryingly, they say that making equal parenting the law would give domestic abusers an advantage in divorce cases. Victims of domestic violence, for example, may give up a greater share of their marital estate if they are concerned that a court will give their ex-spouses 50 percent parenting time.

Family law

Child custody is an understandably emotional and difficult issue for many divorcing parents. In order to ensure that a parent can maintain a role in his or her child’s life, it is important to understand what legal rights are available. A family law attorney can advise parents going through a divorce about the best steps to take in order to protect their relationship with their children.

Written by Amsberry Law Firm

Amsberry Law Firm

Mr. Amsberry is board-certified in family and labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is also active in family law, estate and elder law, and business law. He is a proven litigator who has argued before the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and earned favorable outcomes in complex, precedent-setting employment and civil rights cases. He served as a reservist assistant judge advocate general in the U.S. Army and is a sought-after lecturer and speaker on a range of legal issues.