MOMMY DEAREST: Wendy Davis Gave Up Custody of Youngest Daughter in 2005 Divorce

Published on January 24, 2014

It’s one of the most striking details in Texas State Senator Wendy Davis’s life uncovered by Dallas Morning News reporter Wayne Slater: in 2005, Davis, apparently eager to advance her career, relinquished custody of not just her child with her second husband, Jeffry Davis, but also her first child from another marriage.

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“It’s not a good time for me right now” Davis said at the time, explaining her decision, according to Jeffry Davis.

Wendy Davis’s first daughter Amber, born during her first marriage to Frank Underwood, was 23 at the time – an adult. Her daughter with Jeffry, Dru, was 17.

The Tarrant County Court granted the divorce on November 15, 2005, giving Jeffry Davis “the exclusive right to designate the primary residence” of Dru.

Wendy Davis was given weekend visitation rights and required to pay $1,200 per month in child support to her ex-husband.

In some press reports, Senator Davis appears to have been relieved, even eager, to relinquish her parental obligations. Jeffry Davis told  Slater “[s]he did the right thing,” in agreeing to the divorce decree that granted him custody.  He added that in their discussions prior to finalizing the arrangement (court records state they participated in a mediation process), “She said, ‘I think you’re right; you’ll make a good, nurturing father. While I’ve been a good mother, it’s not a good time for me right now.’ ”

The blended family had begun on a happier note in May 1987 when Wendy, 24 at the time, and Jeffry, 37 at the time, had married. Amber, who was then 5, lived with the newly married couple, and from the beginning, her step-father raised her as his own. Jeffry Davis “considers Amber his daughter” the Houston Chronicle reported in September 2013, quoting him saying “she’s been with me since she was two” – around the time Wendy Davis’s first marriage ended.

The two began dating in Fort Worth in 1984 when Wendy Davis’s father asked Jeffry Davis – who is about 13 years older than Wendy, if he was interested in younger women.

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