Child custody tends to be one of the hottest issues in any divorce, so it’s almost no surprise that a lot of myths and bad information about it persist.
If you’ve heard one thing only to hear something else completely different, we understand the frustration you must feel. With so much information about this topic buzzing around, it’s easy to see why some feel so overwhelmed just trying to make sense of it all.
Now that you’re here, check out a few of the most common child custody myths we’ve heard and learn more about why they’re wrong.
Myth 1: Mothers Always Get Custody
Our first myth is perhaps one of the oldest ones out there on this topic. When it comes to child custody, people sometimes assume that mothers always get custody, the courts favor mothers, or some combination of these beliefs.
The truth is Texas can’t consider either parent’s sex when determining a child custody matter. Not only would this amount to sex-based discrimination, but the court is also bound only to decide child custody in a child’s best interest. If one suspects a judge has a sex-based bias when ordering custody, they should talk to an attorney about filing an appeal.
Myth 2: Joint Custody Means a 50/50 Split
When a Texas judge believes that a child would benefit from having a relationship with both of their parents, the judge is inclined to order joint custody. This is an arrangement where parents share time with their children and parental duties.
Contrary to what some believe, though, joint custody doesn’t mean each spouse is entitled to 50% of time with their child. Because children moving from home-to-home on a weekly basis could be disruptive to their lives, one parent is bound to have more custody on a day-to-day basis than the other.
Any difference in time, though, can be made up with longer visits during school breaks.
Myth 3: Showing That the Other Parent Is a ‘Bad’ Parent Helps
A judge who’s trying to decide child custody is trying to decide what’s in a child’s best interests. It’s not uncommon for parents to interpret this as a test of who is the better parent, so they might try to gain the upper hand by disparaging the “competition.”
In most cases, judges see right through this behavior for what it is. In the best-case scenario, parents are warned against continuing such behavior. In worse scenarios, parents may be accused of attempting to alienate their children from the other parent, who may be awarded more custody as a result.