Do You Have A Child Custody Case?
Mom does not necessarily win simply because she's Mom.
by Earl Jackson
Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
The Child Custody case can and is one of the most contentious forms of
family law litigation. Although traditionally speaking Mom was always
the primary care giver, this is not necessarily true in every case. We
have represented a number of client's who sought the primary designation for
various reasons. Usually, because the father
actually is the primary care giver or the mother has a number of
"issues" that makes her unfit to be the primary. Note: the law does
not look to whether the mother is "unfit" to take away the primary
designation, the mother does not win simply because she is mother. The
law does not take into consideration the sex of the party in a child custody
An example, in one case the Dad was a top sales
agent for one of the top Fortune 500 cases. Although most employees
with his company had a great deal of travel to do through the employment, he
had made an arrangement such that he was always available to care for his
son. He simply did not have to travel to the extent the other employees did.
He was home each and every day to care for his son, to prepare dinner, to
read to his son, play with him and get him ready for bed and school the next
day. Mom, on the other hand, worked 24/7 for a local company.
She was very career minded and was never home. When she was home, she
was "too tired" to meet the needs of her child. In this relationship, the
father had taken on the role of primary care giver and won custody.
The Mother eventually moved to Florida, fell on financial hard times and
never really saw her son thereafter.
So do you have a custody case?
Examine the following factors and answer "mostly."
Who get's the
child up in the morning?
Who gets the child ready for school?
makes sure the child has a lunch or lunch money?
Who takes the child to
Who interacts with the child's teachers?
Who goes to the
Who tracks school events on his or her
Who picks the child up after school?
Who makes sure the
child is in an after school care program?
Who makes sure the child is
doing his or her homework?
Who helps the child with his or her homework?
Who prepares the child's dinner at the end of the day?
Who eats dinner
with the child?
Who watches TV or picks movies to watch with the child?
Do you watch TV and/or movies with the child?
Who makes sure the child
get's ready for bed?
Who makes sure the child is brushing his or her
Who makes sure the child is bathed?
Who makes sure the
child has clean clothes for school?
Who plays games with the child or
builds models with the child?
Who makes sure the child's bedroom is
picked up and clean?
Does the child have chores? If so, who makes
sure that the child does them?
Who makes sure the child does his or her
Who helps the child with the projects?
Who makes the
Who makes the dentist appointments?
sure the child is properly vaccinated in accordance with Texas Law?
makes sure the child has friends and playmates?
Who takes the child to
assorted extracurricular activities such as the zoo, Six Flags, a baseball
Who makes sure the child is involved with sports?
the child on the sporting teams via select teams or the YMCA?
Who practices with the child?
Who makes sure the child goes
Who buys the equipment for the activity for the child?
How many witnesses can attest to the above facts on behalf of you?
deep is the witness's knowledge with regards to the above?
What are the
work hours for the parent seeking custody?
Will the parent be free to
leave work to care for the child?
What kind of support system is
available for the child through family and friends?
What kind of support
system is available to you in taking care of the child?
Are any negative
issues involved with regards to any party? For example, is there a
history of alcohol abuse, or drug use?
If a court order setting out
possession and access, has each party fully complied with the order? Has one
party only periodically exercised possession and access?
If a parent has
taken possession of a child, is the child regularly left with another such
as a grandparent, or brother, or friend?
Is there any history of family
violence or the threat of family violence?
Has the party who was given
the primary designation voluntarily released the chld to the other party?
These factors and others are all factual issues that will be taken
into consideration by the Court in determining the best interest of the
child and the award of the primary designation? It is not necessary
that you answered each one in a manner to the exclusion of the other parent.
What does matter is that the majority are answered, "yes, I do this mostly."
For example, you may go to all the parent teacher conferences, but the
mother may have gone to some. What is important here is that you went
to all of them (or most of them), you know the teachers by their name and
what they teach. You know how well your child is doing in their class.
You know what projects are coming up and what homework is due. Sure,
Mom went to some of the parent teacher conferences but I went almost every
time. In addition, if my child had an issue in school it was I
who addressed the issue.
Evidence, whether by witnesses, documents
or your testimony, will help the court determine who the primary care taker
The Jackson Law Group
Dallas Divorce Child Custoddy Lawyers
Practicing in Dallas, Collin,
Denton, Tarrant, Kaufman Counties
2002 - 2013, the Jackson Law Group - the Law