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Dad's getting primary custody should be easier, but isn't always

Father's Day 2016 is just past. We wonder how many dads around Houston are now walking around with a new mug or tee shirt declaring him "World's Greatest Dad." It's a well-deserved title in most cases, even if the standard by which it is set is in the eye of the beholder.

Indeed, that subjectivity is something that experienced Texas family law attorneys understand exists. It's why fathers who seek to be granted primary conservatorship of a child in a dispute could well need help from skilled legal counsel to gather appropriate evidence to support a case for such a claim.

Texas law grants mothers and fathers equal standing in child custody decisions. What that means is that the court shouldn't use gender as the sole basis for determining which parent should get child custody. But even with gender bias eliminated as a matter of law, the court can still make it a challenge for a father to make the case that he should have preference in a custody arrangement.

The reason is that the court looks to create an environment which it believes is in the best interest of meeting a child's emotional and physical needs. A father's history of behavior and actions can thus carry a good deal of weight in the decision making process.

Of course, what that can lead to is the court showing a preference for behaviors that align with the conventional concepts of parenting. Behavior that breaks with convention can be a strike against a parent seeking primary conservatorship, and there are dads out there who express their nurturing instincts in ways a lot of moms might question.

There may be nothing wrong with the style, but the challenge in such cases may be to show that dad's style is equal to meeting the best interests of the child.

Each case is different and outcomes can't be predicted, but our firm stands ready to protect a father's rights.

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