I’ve wondered when the ongoing research on football and brain injury would make its way into family law litigation. The time is apparently now, as the New York Times has just published an article about just this.
Could this happen in Texas? Yes. Child safety and extracurricular activities are often one of the most disputed issues in child custody matters and Courts regularly weigh in on what a parent may or may not do as to activities. The Texas Family Code does not offer a lot of specific guidance on what a court’s guidelines are in these matters other that the general public policy that a court should act in the “best interests” of a child and parents should “provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child,” TFC § 153.001. On the opposite end, the Family Code also states an order should generally have the least restrictions on a parent and those restrictions should not exceed those required to protect a child. TFC § 153.193. This is all broadly subjective and leaves huge leeway for a Court.
Not only will parents be able to weigh in on this issue, but so will children. Texas Family Code §153.009(a) requires a Court in interview a child over the age of 12 on the motion of a party as to which parent the child would prefer to primarily reside with and the Court may interview any child “on any other issue in the suit affecting the parent-child relationship.” TFC §153.009(b). It’s not hard to imagine a child who wants to play football over the objections of one parent wanting to influence the outcome of a dispute.