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Why do people assume a gender bias in Texas custody decisions? 

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2022 | Divorce |

Although the custody laws in Texas are gender-neutral, referring neither to man and woman nor to father and mother, many parents still think there is a specific gender bias in favor of the mother during custody proceedings. 

While the law is quite clear that a judge should focus on what is best for the kids, some people will insist that a judge will give the mother preferential consideration over the father. Some men even let this idea deter them from seeking shared custody or fighting back when a mother denies access. 

Where does this belief spring from, and why does it persist despite directly contradicting state law?

The concept of a gender bias stems from the tender years’ doctrine

A judge trying to decide what is best for children in a custody dispute has to look at everything from a parent’s living situation to their relationship with the children. The tender years’ doctrine was a child development theory that applied to many custody cases in decades past. 

Judges would assume that children too young to attend school typically needed constant involvement with their mother (or a paid surrogate, like a nanny) to develop their primary attachment. The result was that many fathers received visitation or far less parenting time than mothers did. 

In modern divorces, the tender years’ doctrine no longer applies. A judge will assume that parents can share custody even of an infant. Learning the laws about child custody in Texas can help you fight for your parental rights during a divorce or the end of your relationship with the other parent of your children.