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Will shared parenting become a reality for Texas dads?

If you are a divorced Texas dad, you may already know about a bill that has been working its working through the state legislature since its introduction in late November of 2016.

HB 453 thus far has gained little traction, as it has proven to be a very controversial piece of legislation. Texas fathers who are tired of limited time and authority over their children's lives have ardently supported its passage.

Rallying for rights

As reported by media outlet KVUE, supporters of the bill held a March rally in Austin at the capital. Another is planned for June 16 — not coincidentally over Father's Day weekend — according to the Facebook page, Texans for Parental Equality.

The group and others backing the bill have expressed their frustration with the Texas family court system and their perception that, historically, family court judges have favored mothers in contested custody issues. They want to see an equal split regarding parenting time, as well as other matters.

Why equal parenting time?

As a divorced dad in Texas, you likely can relate to many of the issues driving these groups. You are dissatisfied with every-other-weekend visitations with your kids along with a few weeks over the summer. You want to thoroughly engage with the kids, having normal fatherly interactions with them on a more frequent basis.

Your argument is backed by strong evidence that children experience serious risk of harm when deprived of relationships with their fathers. To wit:

-- Statistical evidence from the National Center for Education Statistics, a division of the Federal Department of Education, show that when dads are actively involved in their children's schools, their kids are far more likely to get "A's" in their classes.

-- Research from the Department of Health and Human Services determined that children growing up without their dads face enhanced risks of abusing alcohol and drugs.

-- One study of adolescents age 11 to 18 in the rural south revealed those growing up without paternal involvement in their lives had higher incidences of premarital sex than their counterparts with regular fatherly interactions.

Develop a strong, strategic offense

Given these hard facts, together with the emotional toll being apart takes on both dads and kids, it's vital to be proactive when battling for custody in the Texas family court system.

Don't let the courts deny your rights to share in the lives of your children. Regardless of the outcome of this or future legislation, you and your attorney can fight for equal parenting time.

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Board Certified | Texas Board of Legal Specialization | Family Law

John Powell, III is Board Certified in Family Law ~ Texas Board of Legal Specialization

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