Texas fathers’ rights group says state needs equal custody law

A group of parents drove to Austin to learn about the state's child support division. (KXAN Photo/Steffi Lee)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Mothers and fathers in Texas are continuing to fight for equal parenting laws.

Several of them were in Austin Wednesday to get more information about the state’s child support division and custody laws. The Texas Fathers’ Rights Movement says too often, parents are unable to get equal visitation time with their kids during a separation or divorce.

“We’re advocating for people that want to be a part of their kid’s life, that want to see them,” Jason Davis, one of the organizers with the Texas Fathers’ Rights Movement’s Facebook page, said. “Of course you can’t see them all the time, but we’re mainly advocating for 50/50 parenting.”

HB453, filed during the 2017 legislative session, would have allowed the court to grant equal parenting unless it was against the best interest of the child. It did not make it through the full legislative process.

“We get that once there’s a separation or divorce, somebody else is going to enter their lives,” Davis said. “But ultimately, we’re their dad. We’re their mom. We just want to be a part of their lives.”

Federal regulations prohibit the Office of the Attorney General to use child support funding to provide legal services for custody or visitation disputes. However, the agencydoes have limited special funding to provide assistance to parents with custody and visitation issues. Information for the services is available through theTexas Access and Visitation Hotline.

Federal law also bans the Office of the Attorney General from intervening in issues involving child custody and visitation.

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