Austin Family Lawyer Sees Trend Toward 50/50 Joint Custody Arrangements in Texas Divorces

Social changes and psychological studies are among the factors driving a trend towards 50/50 child custody arrangements, but equal parenting time plans may not be the solution for every family, says Austin, Texas divorce lawyer Jack Zinda of Heselmeyer Zinda, PLLC.

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Holly Davis

You’re definitely seeing more 50/50 custody situations, and I think that’s attributable in large part to changing gender roles. More women are pursuing careers, and more men are choosing to focus on their children.

Round Rock, TX (PRWEB) September 23, 2010

Although there’s several good reasons for a rise in 50/50 joint child custody arrangements in Texas divorces, that doesn’t mean equal parenting time is the best situation for every family, says Austin lawyer Holly Davis.

“You’re definitely seeing more 50/50 custody situations, and I think that’s attributable in large part to changing gender roles,” says Davis, whose law firm, Heselmeyer Zinda, PLLC, offers a website devoted to Texas family law issues, http://www.texas-family-lawyers.com.

“More women are pursuing careers, and more men are choosing to focus on their children,” Davis says in a recent interview. “There are also studies that show that there are clear benefits to the child splitting time with both parents.”

Davis points to a study by Ohio State associate professor Mo-Yee Lee that suggests that children of divorced parents in physical joint-custody arrangements show fewer behavioral problems than children under the custody of a single parent.

“However, where 50/50 custody would pose logistical problems or create conflicts between the parents, it’s not going to be the right fit,” Davis says.

Under Texas law, it’s presumed that parents should serve as “joint managing conservators” of their children in a divorce. However, that doesn’t always mean there will be a 50/50 split in physical custody of the children, Davis says.

Courts must look at several different factors before deciding on a parenting plan.

“Of course, the main factor will always be the child’s best interests,” Davis says. “So, if an equal parenting or co-parenting plan is going to lead to a lack of stability for the child or trigger arguments between the parents that negatively impact the child, it wouldn’t be in the child’s best interests.”

Although bills have been introduced in different states recently that would mandate 50/50 child custody arrangements – many of those measures have been heavily supported by fathers’ rights advocates – Davis cautions against any “one-size-fits-all” approach to a situation as delicate as child custody.

“As with any divorce issue, including child support, spousal support and division of marital assets, there are going to be unique facts and circumstances that call for tailored solutions that balance parents’ rights and the child’s interests,” Davis says.

“Each family is different, and the law should be flexible enough to accommodate those differences.”

About Heselmeyer Zinda, PLLC

With law offices in Plano, Austin and Round Rock, the Texas family lawyers of Heselmeyer Zinda, PLLC can provide expert legal advice on a range of domestic law matters, including divorce, child custody, visitation, child support, equitable distribution, spousal support, modifications, enforcements and adoptions. Additionally, the firm focuses on representing personal injury victims and parties involved in business law matters. For more information or a free case evaluation, call 1.800.863.5312 or use the firm’s online contact form.

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