What Rights Do Fathers Have in Texas Custody Matters?
There is a longstanding belief that men have had in states across the country for some time now. The belief is that when it comes to custody disputes, dads almost always lose. This isn’t true in most jurisdictions, and where it is true, imbalances are beginning to decrease.
Texas is gender-neutral when it comes to awarding custody. But there can be some hurdles for fathers to overcome in Texas custody matters. It is for this reason that it is important to speak with a fathers rights lawyer Round Rock, TX residents trust if you find yourself in need of legal guidance concerning your rights as a parent. It is far better to ask questions upfront and to have a strong advocate on your side than it is to wonder if you’re doing everything possible to protect your rights and the interests of your children. The Law Office of Jason Wright, PLLC is proud to represent dads invested in their kids and we’d be happy to answer any questions you have about your legal rights as a father.
Questions of Fatherhood and Uncertain Parental Rights
In Texas, a man has no automatic parental rights or responsibilities to his child if he is not married to the mother at the time of conception or birth. This means he cannot seek custody until or unless he establishes paternity. There are two ways to do this. The first is a DNA test involving samples from both the presumed father and the child. The second is for the mother to sign an affidavit stating that the man is the father.
It is worth noting that this is a two-way street. Men who want to be involved in their children’s lives need to establish paternity in order to have any parental rights. Otherwise, the mother could completely deny access to the child or even move the child out of state if she wanted to.
There are instances in which women would want to establish paternity as well, because paternity confers responsibilities as well as rights. First and foremost is the responsibility of child support. If an unmarried mother wants to seek court-ordered child support and the father denies paternity, she can ask the court to order the man to submit to a DNA test. If you have questions about how paternity works and/or how paternity issues could affect your rights and responsibilities, connect with our Round Rock, TX fathers rights lawyer today.
Texas Custody Laws and Practices
Assuming that paternity has been established or was never in question, there is nothing in Texas law or common practice that is explicitly discriminatory against fathers. Courts are instructed to make child custody decisions in the best interests of children. In many cases, that means keeping both parents involved whenever possible.
When it comes to sole or joint conservatorship (known elsewhere as sole or joint custody), courts are technically gender neutral. Fathers are the recipients of custodial responsibilities regularly. Courts are also gender neutral when it comes to child support. Either parent (mom or dad) may be ordered to pay child support, or both might. You may hope to secure a specific kind of custody arrangement for your children. Our Round Rock, TX fathers rights lawyer team can advise you of your options and help you to pursue your case.
Times Have Changed
To be sure, the beliefs that men are treated unfairly were not imagined. There was a time in Texas and elsewhere when women were far more likely to be awarded custody/conservatorship because it was believed that women were the best caretakers of children. Thankfully, that is no longer the case. Courts prefer to keep both parents involved when possible, and are willing to award sole conservatorship to the more appropriate parent, male or female.
Learn More During an Initial Consultation
To get answers to your custody questions contact our experienced Round Rock, TX fathers rights lawyer team today to schedule your initial consultation. Every case is different, so it is important to seek experienced legal guidance rather than making any assumptions (for better or worse) about your situation. Our team can help you make an informed decision about your legal circumstances once we learn more about your family. We look forward to speaking with you.