Do Father’s Have The Same Rights As Moms In Texas?
Both the father and the mother of a child have equal rights in Texas. Rather than considering the gender of each parent, the court will look at the best interests of the child when making decisions involving their lives, such as child custody. One parent does not have more rights than the other, provided their parental rights have been established.
If you are an unmarried father, you may need to establish paternity through a paternity suit or an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) form before you can avail of your father’s rights. The family law system can be complex and overwhelming, particularly for a father trying to establish their parental rights.
Father’s Rights Attorneys at Skillern Firm
Because of this, we strongly advise getting legal advice from an experienced father’s rights attorney in Texas. The legal team at Skillern Firm understands the complexities of the family law system and we want to help you in any way that we can. An experienced attorney from our law firm can help you establish paternity, apply for custody and visitation, and avail of your rights as a father.
Our law firm prioritizes mediation and negotiation, and we want to protect the best interests of your children. We want to help you achieve a fair and balanced child custody arrangement that works well for you and your children.
Call our law firm today to schedule a consultation at 936-213-8479.
Determining The Child’s Father Under Texas Law
To determine what rights a father has under Texas law, it is first necessary to identify the child’s father. If you are not a legal father, you do not have parental rights for the child. The easiest way to gain parental rights as a biological father is to be married to the child’s mother.
However, if you are not married, you must establish paternity separately to obtain your rights in Texas. There are a few ways to establish paternity in Texas, including:
- Living Together – As per the Texas Family Code, a man who has resided with the child’s mother for the first two years of the child’s life and cared for the child as their own is the child’s presumed father.
- Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) – If both parents agree, both the father and the mother can sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP). Acknowledgment of Paternity can be done at the hospital after the child is born or through the Texas Vital Statistics Unit.
- Petition to Adjudicate Parentage – If the other parent disagrees with a father’s paternity claim, the father may need to file a Petition to Adjudicate Parentage, and get parental rights through a court order. The court may order DNA testing to determine if they are the biological father.
In Texas, it is not enough to just have your name on the child’s birth certificate if you are an unmarried father. You must take active steps to become the legal father of the child under the law.
Father’s Rights in Texas
Father’s rights in Texas are equal to a mother’s rights. There is no difference between these rights based on gender, and fathers’ rights are protected under the law. Father’s rights in Texas include:
- Paternity Rights – Unmarried fathers have the right to establish paternity, through either a paternity suit or an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP).
- Custody Rights – A legal father may seek custody of their children. This can be a joint custody or a sole custody arrangement.
- Visitation Rights – If a father does not have primary custody of the child, they have the right to parenting time. During a child custody case, parents should arrange a parenting plan and visitation schedule, outlining the time the father can spend with the child.
- Decision-Making Rights – As a legal father, you may take part in important decisions in your child’s life. This includes decisions about their education, their religion, and medical treatment.
- Inheritance Rights – Legal fathers are entitled to have their property and assets passed down to their children if they die without a Last Will and Testament.
It is important to note that a father only has these rights under the law if they have been established as the legal father.
Child Custody Laws in Texas
Often, people believe that mothers are favored under child custody laws, and Judges are more likely to award primary custody to the child’s mother. However, both the mother and the father have equal rights under child custody laws in Texas. The primary consideration of the court when making custody decisions, in relation to primary or joint custody, is the best interests of the child.
The Judge in family law cases involving custody will consider the child’s life, and whether it is in the best interests to award primary custody to the mother or the father. If the child has lived with the mother separately until this point, the court may award primary custody to the mother.
However, if both the mother and father have taken care of the child together and are now separating, they will be viewed equally before the law. If the married or unmarried father has taken primary care of the child, such as bringing them to school and doctor’s appointments, feeding them, and having a major involvement in the child’s life, this will benefit them in child custody cases.
The Judge will also consider other factors when determining who the custodial parent should be, including whether either parent poses a safety risk to the child, the emotional needs of the child, and the stability of each parent.
Do Unmarried Parents Share Equal Custody?
Unmarried parents do not automatically have equal custody rights in Texas. As an unmarried father, you must first establish paternity to get parental rights and then a court order to establish custody rights. Unless you have been taking care of the child until this point, the courts generally presume that the mother has primary custody of the child.
However, once you establish paternity and request custody or visitation rights through the court, you can gain parental rights. You can file a petition to the court to request custody or visitation rights and negotiate to arrange a custody arrangement that works for you and the child’s mother.
The primary consideration of the Judge will be the best interests of the child. In most cases, the courts favor awarding parenting time to the child’s father, as they view it to be in the child’s best interests. However, if there are reasons it would not be in the child’s best interests, such as drug abuse or criminal convictions, the Judge may rule against them.
If you are trying to establish custody and visitation rights as a father in Texas, we strongly advise seeking legal assistance from an experienced attorney. Navigating the custody system is complex and can be quite overwhelming if you have no legal experience. An attorney can guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf.
Do Fathers Have The Same Rights as Moms in Texas? FAQ
Can a non-biological father gain parental rights?
A non-biological father may gain parental rights by adopting a child. Adoptive parents have the same rights as biological parents, including the right to make decisions involving the child’s healthcare, education, and religion.
Can the child’s mother put our child up for adoption without my consent?
If you are a biological father and have established your paternity rights through either an AOP or a paternity suit, the child’s mother must inform you of their intention to put the child up for adoption. It is important that you have established your rights as a legal father, and it is not enough to just have your name on the birth certificate.
You reserve the right to object to the child being put up for adoption. However, if the court decides that your parental rights should be involuntarily terminated for reasons such as abandonment or endangerment, the child’s mother can put the child up for adoption without your consent.
If you want to challenge an adoption, we strongly recommend hiring an attorney.
Contact the Father’s Rights Lawyers at Skillern Firm Today!
Becoming a father is often the most joyous thing to happen in a person’s life. Most fathers want to spend as much time with their children as possible. However, when you are not married to the child’s mother and do not live with your child, it can get quite complicated.
It is important to know that fathers have the same rights as mothers in Texas, provided they have established their paternity and parental rights. Father’s Rights include the right to have custody of your child, the right to parenting time with your child, and the right to participate in decisions regarding their lives.
If you are concerned about your rights as a father, want to establish parenting time, or want to fight for custody of your child, contact Skillern Firm today. We have a team of highly experienced family law attorneys that can help guide you through your case, advise you on your rights, and protect your best interests.
Our law firm cares about protecting families, and we pride ourselves on the results we have achieved. Three of our attorneys are Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, which is a recognition given to just 1% of family law attorneys in the state. We care about providing the highest standard of legal care and will fight to get the best result possible in your case.
Call our law firm today at 936-213-8479.