Why Did the Equal Parenting Bill, HB 453, in Texas Die?

Equal parenting remains absent from Texas law. Many continue to wonder why.

Texas HB 453 attempted to establish a legal presumption for equal parenting during divorce proceedings. However, the bill never made it to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. On May 3, 2017, HB 453 was declared dead. The failure of the bill left many questioning what happened. Father’s rights activists in particular were hopeful that the equal parenting bill would set a new legal precedent in Texas.

Under HB 453, there would able a legal presumption that both parents in a divorce action were capable of shared custody and it would be in the best interest of the child. Other states have considered similar legislation as research continues to show that, in most cases, children benefit from both parents playing an active role in their lives. HB 453 supporters claimed, despite some progress, that most judges still tend to favor granting custody to mothers during divorce proceedings. The legal presumption favoring mothers in custody decisions was eradicated from Texas law in 1974, but some claim that the presumption still lingers in Texas family courts across the state. Even without the presumption favoring mothers in custody matters, Texas courts usually grant mothers primary custody with fathers receiving the standard weekend custody schedule.

Supporters of HB 453 were hoping for Texas to begin favoring co-parenting situations even after divorce. Texas law currently has no provision for equal time shared between parents and some judges will not even consider granting such a schedule. In June 2017, after HB 453 was declared dead, supporters of the bill gathered outside of the Texas Capitol to voice their continued support for equal parenting and HB 453. Some legislators claimed that the overzealous support from some in favor of HB 453 was part of the reason the bill did not succeed. There was some talk that legislators had received threats regarding the bill. Others claim the bill did not succeed because some legislators had concerns regarding the ramifications the bill may have in custody cases. These legislators feared that judges would simply end up rubberstamping custody cases instead of considering the unique circumstances of each case.

As more states come to realize the value of equal parenting and the benefits such an arrangement can have on children, HB 453 supporters continue to hope that Texas will do the same. While the law may not progress as fast as some would hope, Scott M. Brown & Associates continues to fight for the best interests of children and the legal rights of parents. Our Webster family law attorneys are here for you. Contact us today by calling (281) 612-8241 or go online.

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