Establishing Fathers Rights in Texas

Though the annual divorce rate continues to fall in Texas – down to 2.5 divorces per 1000 residents, from 3.1 divorces per 1000 residents in 2012 – families throughout the state and much of the country still battle with the fallout of a hurtful breakup. While the courts are officially required to show no gender bias when making their final decision, many fathers continue to worry that a family breakup may spell doom for their chances at fatherhood. Yet, this is not the case thanks to a fathers rights in Texas. The proper legal help and the right approach can help you get the access you need to your children.

Things might seem bleak, but they do not have to be. You do have rights. Under the Texas Family Code, parental rights in Texas include the right to direct the moral and religious training of their child, to direct their place of residence, and have physical possession of the child, as well as make decisions regarding their education, represent the child in legal matters, and consent to their medical care, among other rights and duties. However, these rights can be taken away from you through a court order. But with respectable and qualified lawyers at your side, you can fight to keep your rights, and to be there for your child.

Understanding and Protecting Your Rights

While it might seem like an unfair battle, a report by the US Census states that fathers do win custody battles about one-fifth of the time, and about half (48.2 percent) of the custodial parents who came to some type of agreement for child support had visitation privileges with their children. As the father, it is your privilege and your right to be there for them, provide for and support them, and play a major role in the development and nurturing of your children, from the crib onwards.

However, maintaining your fathers rights in Texas means fighting for them. If you fear that your child’s mother is going to contest your custody, it is time to seek out professional assistance. Even if you are an unmarried father, in the state of Texas, you have a right to seek child visitation and to fight for child custody – after formally establishing paternity.

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Fighting Against Parental Alienation

Courts generally seek an agreement that involves both parents taking care of the child, as the goal of each custody case is to determine what is best for the child. But, if one or the other parent is deemed and proven unfit, then the court awards custody only to the ‘fit’ parent. A parent can be deemed unfit if he/she has been abusive, neglectful, or incompetent in his/her ability to provide proper care. If a parent suffers from a serious mental illness or struggles with addiction, his/her ability to raise a child may be called into question. If neither parent is unfit, the court will leave the decision-making to the parents.

If you and the mother cannot come to an agreement, the court must make one. In these cases, the court will consider a variety of factors to determine the primary caretaker, and award visitation and/or custody rights appropriately. After the court establishes its decision, it is up to the parents to maintain and uphold said judgment. However, if the mother of your child begins to prevent the time spent with you or forces the choosing of sides in joint decisions against your favor, she may be guilty of parental alienation. You are entitled to assert your rights as a father, and to fight back against such behavior.

Seeking Legal Help for Fathers Rights in Texas

In the best-case scenario, you and your child’s mother can come to an agreement without ever entering a courtroom. But if you cannot reach an agreement, or if the terms of the agreement are being violated, it is important to be aware of your rights as a father. Be proactive in seeking legal help to uphold and defend your fathers rights in Texas.


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