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Father’s Rights in Texas: Do Fathers Have Equal Custody Rights?

Oct 22, 2021 | Child Custody, Divorce

In the past, it was presumed that women were better caregivers than men and that they should have more of a right to the children. But a lot has changed, and in most cases, fathers’ rights in Houston, TX are now equal to those of mothers. If you’re getting a divorce, you should make sure you have proof of paternity and hire a great family law lawyer, who can help you get a fair outcome for everyone.

Despite the fact that a lot has changed in the past 50 years, it can still be harder for fathers to receive their full rights because they often aren’t the primary caregiver of the children. For this reason, you’ll need to offer a lot of proof that you are able and willing to take care of your children and that you will be a responsible parent. Your lawyer is the best person to speak to because they can strengthen your case and present it in the best light possible.

Getting a Divorce in Houston, TX: What Are Fathers’ Rights?

Although everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, men are still more likely to be the breadwinners than women. In fact, only 17% of stay-at-home parents in the US were dads in 2016. This means that mothers on average spend more time with their children and are therefore more involved with decision-making processes and the day-to-day tasks related to childcare.

In such an environment, it can be hard for you to prove that you should have full or even partial custody. Depending on your individual situation, you’ll first have to prove that you are the father and that you are responsible enough to take care of your children. What’s more, you’ll have certain responsibilities that come alongside your rights, and navigating those can be just as tricky. Let’s have a look at some of the facts and how to maximize your position.

Who Is the Father?

If you were married and your children were born during the marriage, the court will usually presume that you are the father. You can be considered the father if you are legally determined as such, presumed to be the father, have acknowledged your paternity, have adopted the children in question, or are adjudicated by a court to be the father.

However, to be on the safe side, your lawyer might advise you to take a paternity test. Having proof that you are the biological parent of your children makes it much more likely that your case is clear-cut and that you will have fair and equal rights to custody.

What Rights Does a Father Have?

There are several rights that go along with paternity, and unless you have a significant criminal record or are otherwise declared unfit, you will be able to benefit. The primary right is to have physical possession of the children, which means that you get to spend time with them and have them live at your house.

If you have full custody, your children will always live with you, and if you have partial custody, they will split their time between you and your former spouse. In addition to this right, you also get to make some decisions on your children’s behalf. For example, you can help to choose where they go to school, what religious education they receive, and the type of moral education administered.

What Responsibilities Does a Father Have?

In addition to your rights, you will also have some responsibilities. Fathers who were the main breadwinners or had a higher salary than the mother will likely have to pay spousal support and child support. This ensures that you, your former spouse, and your children can all live as comfortably as possible and don’t risk having to endure financial hardship.

Considerations When it Comes to Custody Rights

Texas courts aim to provide families with the best outcome possible, so each case will be handled differently. In essence, it is preferred that you come to an agreement together and also take the child’s individual needs and preferences into consideration. Unless one parent is declared unfit or unable to act in the child’s best interests, both parties should have access to their children on a regular basis.

If you can’t reach an agreement with your former spouse, the court will have to step in. In such a situation, they might determine who the custodial parent, or, the parent providing the children’s primary residence, is. A family law lawyer is important during these types of negotiations because they can help you to get the best outcome possible, and they can advocate for the rights of the children in question.

How to Maximize Your Chances

There are several things you can do to maximize your chances of getting a great outcome and being able to spend significant amounts of time with your children. The most important is hiring a great lawyer who will help you to make the most of the situation. They will know the Texas custody laws intimately and therefore be able to tell you what you can expect.

Before deciding to go to court, speak to your attorney about mediation and how you could avoid lengthy proceedings. It might be best for both you and your family to come to an agreement amongst yourselves.

Hire a Great Family Law Lawyer

The lawyer you choose will have a great impact on your outcome because they are the person who has to advocate for your rights. If you choose someone experienced and competent, you can expect to get a significantly better result. When you first get started, your attorney will ask you about your situation and discuss the possibilities. All factors, such as the time you have spent with your children and your employment situation, will be taken into consideration.

Then, you and your lawyer will work together closely to fight for your rights. They can help you compile all the evidence you need to prove that you are a responsible and engaged parent who deserves to spend time with the children. Depending on your individual situation, you can file for full or joint custody.

Try to Settle Out of Court

For most families, settling out of court is much less stressful. To do so, your lawyer will suggest certain options such as mediation, which involves a mediator speaking to both you and your spouse and trying to find a solution that suits everyone. This process can result in a better outcome for you and a less traumatic experience for the children.

Get Help Fighting for Your Rights

When getting a divorce, proving that you will care for your children competently can be hard for fathers, particularly those who haven’t been very involved in their children’s upbringing until now. If you are the working parent, and your spouse stayed at home, you’ll need to navigate a number of difficult issues such as child support and custody. Fortunately, a great family law lawyer can help you to demonstrate to the judge that you will be an excellent caregiver.

Get in touch with us at Skillern Law Firm in Houston, TX to speak to one of our highly qualified and experienced attorneys. We work with cases such as yours on a daily basis, so we’ll be in a position to help you figure out how to move forward. When you get in touch, we’ll invite you to our offices for an initial consultation, and we can then work together to help you gain access to your full fathers’ rights.