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Many groups pushing for child custody reform

The American legal system is a complex and amazing thing; a kind of "living" body laws that guide our interactions with one another. As impressive as the system is, it is also slow to change, especially in regard to family law. In many ways, the child custody laws that divorcing parents in Texas face are far behind the times, leading many to push for reform in this area of our legal system.

One issue that has garnered a great deal of recent attention is the disparity that exists between mothers and fathers when it comes to child custody matters. In many cases, mothers are still favored in court, largely due to the long-held belief that a mother has a closer bond to her child than a father. Social science has refuted this concept, but the law has not kept pace with that changed mindset.

As a result, parenting time is still largely skewed toward favoring the mother, leaving many fathers playing the role of occasional visitor in the lives of their children. This is not a good outcome for fathers, and also not ideal for children. Many studies show that kids do better academically, socially and emotionally when they are closely bonded with both mom and dad.

For those in Texas who feel that they have not received a fair share of parenting time, it is possible to re-approach the court and ask for a child custody modification. Parents who are able to demonstrate that they are willing and able to take on more of the rights and responsibilities associated with raising a child have a good chance at a favorable outcome. If those who support a move toward shared parenting have their way, these types of custody arrangements will become the norm in the years to come.

Source: NPR, Push to change custody laws: What's best for kids?, Jennifer Ludden, Feb. 26, 2014

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