For many years, when a couple with children divorced, it was presumed the mother would be granted custody of the children. Fortunately, the Texas legislature recognized the importance of father’s rights, which values the role played by fathers in a child’s life, and modified the custody laws so that mothers are no longer granted preferential treatment. As such, fathers now have equal rights to pursue and enjoy joint or sole managing conservatorship of their children and, in some cases, may be granted child support as well. If you are a father who wishes to establish your parental rights, you should speak to the Dallas father’s rights lawyers of McClure Law Group to understand your options. We provide assertive representation to fathers seeking custody or child support in a divorce.Rights for Single Fathers
When the parents of a child are not married to each other, the father must establish paternity to become a legal parent. In Texas, both parents can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) document, which establishes paternity on a voluntary basis. In cases in which a mother or father disputes paternity, either parent can file a petition to adjudicate parentage in the county where the child resides. If the parties then agree that the man is the father of the child in question, the court will enter an order deeming the man the legal father of the child. If either party disputes the child’s parentage, the court may order a DNA test. If the results of the test indicate the man is the father, the court will then usually issue an order adjudicating the man as the father of the child, and may also define the father’s rights with regards to custody and visitation as well as child support. If you want to protect your legal rights as a father when the mother of the child is not your wife, speak with a father’s rights attorney in Dallas to understand the options available for establishing paternity and child custody.Father’s Rights in Divorce Actions
In Texas, the state presumes that a man is the father of the child when he is married to the mother of the child and the child is born during the marriage. Thus, men seeking parental rights in a divorce action do not need to establish paternity. When the court is asked to establish parental rights and obligations, it will assess what arrangement is in the best interest of the child by considering factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, the ability of each parent to care for the child, the health of both parents and the child, and whether the child has any special needs with regards to medical care, education, or otherwise. In general, the court will presume that appointing both parents as joint managing conservators is in the best interests of the child. However, this rebuttable presumption can be overcome with a finding of family violence. An experienced Dallas father’s rights attorney can advocate for your interests in such a proceeding to protect your relationship with your child.
The Texas Family Code specifically provides, however, that a court must determine whether a parent should be granted physical or legal custody or visitation rights without regard to the sex of the parent or of the child. In other words, fathers cannot be denied parental rights based solely on their gender or the genders of their children. Additionally, the Texas Family Code states that frequent contact between a child and each parent should be encouraged and that it is presumed to be in a child’s best interest to have a relationship with both parents. Similarly, the law allows for either parent to be ordered to pay child support to his or her co-parent, which means the law protects a father’s right to receive child support as well.Consult with an Experienced Lawyer in Dallas
Fathers play a critical role in the lives of their children, and therefore it is important for them to fight to protect their parental rights. If you wish to establish paternity or safeguard your right to custody or child support, speak to the trusted father’s rights lawyers at our Dallas firm. The main office of the McClure Law Group is in Dallas, and we are available to meet by appointment at our Collin County office in Plano. We regularly assist fathers in paternity, custody, and support proceedings in Dallas, Garland, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Richardson, Irving, McKinney, and Frisco. We also represent people in family law cases in cities in Dallas, Denton, Rockwall, Grayson, Collin, and Tarrant Counties. You can contact us at 214.692.8200 or via the online form to schedule a conference.