Since the mid 1980s, the commonly-cited trend of maternal custody being favored in court rooms has been slowly changing. Today, in Texas and elsewhere, joint child custody is far more the norm in divorce situations. As a result, fewer women than ever have been granted sole custody of their children.
A recently published study suggests that ,on a whole, incidences of maternal-only custody have been steadily declining since 1988, from roughly 80 percent of all disputed custody proceedings going to the mother in that year to only 42 percent as of 2008. Equal custody, on the other hand, rose from 5 percent to 27 percent. Even unequal custody that was still considered "joint" rose from 3 percent to 18 percent.
The statistics appear to denote a change in the way courts and individuals alike are looking at parenting. It should be noted that the statistics only considered custody scenarios in which the parents were married and confronted the custody issues as a result of a divorce. These individuals only barely make up the majority, with 42 percent of all children in America born to single mothers. Custody scenarios of this latter type were not included in the study.
Child custody is among the most challenging elements of any divorce scenario, considering the emotional investment inherent in having children. Texas residents can attest that determining which parent a child will live with can have a profound impact on the life of the entire family, both before and following a divorce. For both parents to have a full understanding of the custody process can mean the difference between a confusing and emotionally charged situation, and a relatively straightforward negotiation to achieve a mutual understanding.
Source: Time, "Custody: Joint Custody On the Rise, Maternal Custody Plummets", Charlotte Alter, May 22, 2014