If You are a Father and Have Questions About Your Rights Regarding Parentage, Our Lawyers Can Advise You
Being a parent is a unique, life-changing, and wonderful experience. For parents who do not live together or are seeking a divorce, understanding one’s rights as they pertain to the child can be complicated, especially for fathers. This is because biological mothers are automatically granted parental rights, whereas for fathers, paternity and subsequent rights must often be established via a legal process. Even if paternity is established, a father may have worries about his right to seek custody or visitation with his child based purely on his gender.
At the law offices of Scott M. Brown & Associates, we hear you and understand your concerns. Here is a look into the rights that fathers in Texas have regarding time with their children:
Perhaps the most important thing to understand about fathers’ rights in Texas is that if a father has not established paternity, he does not have any rights. Paternity is established in one of three ways in Texas:
- Paternity is naturally established and assumed if, at the time of the child’s birth, the father and the mother are married.
- If paternity is not assumed as a result of marriage, both parents can sign an acknowledgment of paternity form at the time of the child’s birth, or at a later date.
- If there is a dispute about paternity, the third way in which paternity can be established is by a court order. Court orders are usually issued following genetic testing to prove biological fatherhood.
After paternity has been established, you have the exact same rights as the child’s mother in regards to seeking custody of or visitation with your child. Specific “rights and duties of parent[s]” are outlined in Texas Family Code Section 151.001, and include, but are not limited to, the right to have time with your children, direct their moral upbringing, make decisions regarding their lives, and more. When a court is making a custody decision, the gender of the parent is not considered. Rather, the best interests of the child are the basis on which a court will issue a determination.
While you may legally have the same rights as the child’s mother when it comes to seeking custody of or visitation with your child or being involved in making decisions about your child’s life, you should still work with a lawyer. Remember, a judge will issue a decision based on the best interests of the child, which means that you will need to submit evidence proving that maintaining a relationship with you is within the child’s best interests. Our lawyers can help you to gather and submit evidence to the court, represent you in negotiations and litigation, and will work hard to ensure your rights as a father are preserved.
Family law matters, especially those involving children, can be complicated. If you are a father who has questions about your rights, call our law firm today for a consultation and legal advice. We will work hard for you.