For a Texas Republican Legislator, voting against HB 803 Equal Parenting Bill this legislative session would mean voting against their own party platform, and going against a top GOP issue. That is because at the Texas GOP State Convention 2020, around 8000 Texas GOP State Delegates voted to add EQUAL PARENTING as a 2020 Texas GOP Platform Plank, because kids need both parents in their lives equally.
The 2020 Texas GOP Platform Plank 94 Declares: “Equal Parenting: We support legislation providing for equal and consistent parenting time (possession and access) for every child, when both parents are fit, willing, and able as it is in the best interest of the child.”
It was a Major win in Texas for Equal Parenting and Major win for Texas Children who want and need both parents in their lives equally and less court battles tearing them apart! The idea of equal possession and access for fit parents is not a new one, but it had never been specifically addressed by the Texas Republican Party platform, or any state party that we are aware of. That is mostly due to the idea of equal parenting being common sense that kids need and should have a right to see both good parents equally, and also due to most people had no idea that the law already didn’t set equal parenting as the standard.
We took the issue of Equal Parenting to the 2020 Republican Party of Texas state convention committees and delegates. One by one, women and mothers and men and fathers testified at the state convention about how millions of children’s lives get torn apart in family court. One by one people testified about how the current family law incentivizes conflict and incentivizes parents fighting in court for more time. No one knew that the law did not already start parents off at equal possession and access with kids after two parents split with the judge being able to go lower than equal custody with just cause. No one knew that the law actually starts parents off with standard possession order which means only one parent gets every other weekend to see their kids, and if you want equal custody or even just more time than 4 nights a month you have to fight, and go bankrupt on attorneys, and be in constant conflict in court fights with the kids in the middle as pawns. No one knew how damaging and far reaching this crisis was with unequal parenting contributing to huge financial burdens on society, and unequal parenting being the primary factor in the majority of all child issues from teen crime to teen pregnancy to teen drug use to teen suicides to teen school dropouts.
When this was presented to the Texas State Convention platform and priorities committee delegates, not only was equal parenting passed out of committee unanimously as a proposed platform plank, but it was also passed out of legislative priorities committee as a top 6 priority, and then it still made the top 15 list of priorities by the full delegates before the delegates narrowed the list down to the top 8. For those of you who are not familiar with it means for equal parenting to make the top list of 15 issues, it means the Republican party of Texas made a list of issues the delegates believe are the most important issues to get passed at the next legislative session. The delegates then voted on the top eight priorities and equal parenting might not have made the top eight list of other very important pressing issues, but it was finalized as a top 15 which out of hundreds of platform issues, so being in the top 15 is huge. This is a massive win and a huge boost to equal parenting. This shows Republican Legislators that Equal Parenting is not only an important issue, but it has overwhelming support of voters. Equal Parenting is now a part of the core beliefs platform of the Texas GOP and a top issue for GOP voters.
Texas HB 803 Equal Parenting Bill is the bill that matches this new Equal Parenting Texas GOP Platform Plank. Republican Texas Representatives should vote for the bill to help kids and society, and so to not turn their back on the 8000 Texas GOP Delegates who made Equal Parenting a Republican Core Value.
Children deserve to have both a mother and father in their lives when both parents are fit willing and able. Under Equal Parenting, a court can certainly determine if one parent is abusive or not fit and under equal parenting the court can and will still not allow an abuser to have equal custody, but when the court does determine both parents are fit and both parents are willing and able to be involved equally in their child’s lives then both parents should get equal custody for the sake of the child who needs both parents. Equal Parenting does not take away discretion of a judge, it just gives them another checkbox and another tool in their toolbox. It creates the starting point as equal possession for fit parents and a judge can go down from there, instead of starting of unequal custody and parents fighting to go up from there. Equal parenting means that the new standard possession order, the new starting point, will be equal possession and access. That will be the new starting point with two good parents. The new starting point will no longer be one parent only gets four days a month. That old outdated system causes parents to fight and bicker and drag their kid to court and destroy the children’s lives as they fight over who gets more time with the child. By changing the standard possession order to have a starting point of equal parenting, millions of children who are hurting and committing suicide and committing crimes because of broken families will be helped Because there will be less fighting and less court battles and less parental alienation because both parents won’t have an option to keep fighting for no reason if both parents are fit, they will just have to do what’s best for the children and let the child see both parents equally as long as both parents are fit willing and able.