Do Unmarried Fathers Have Rights in a Custody Battle?
13 January, 2021
By Rob Musemeche
Unmarried fathers should quickly seek legal representation for support when seeking custody of a child
If you are a father in Texas who is unmarried to your child’s mother, you may have questions about your rights to seek custody of your child, especially if you were never married. While you certainly have the right to seek custody of or visitation with your child as a father, this right is only bestowed on you after paternity has been established. If you are not sure if paternity has been established, what legal paternity means, or how to establish it, call our law firm directly today.
How to Establish Paternity in Texas
In Texas, there are three ways that paternity, or legal parentage, can be established:
- If a child’s parents are married at the time of a child’s birth, then paternity will automatically be established and the husband in the relationship will be assumed to be the child’s biological father.
- If the child’s parents are unmarried, both parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form at the time of a childbirth, or at a later date. Both parents must sign the form in order for it to be valid.
- If the child’s parents are unmarried and the paternity of the child is disputed, then the court can order the father and the child to both submit to genetic testing in order to confirm or deny the alleged father’s rightful, biological paternity. If the alleged father is determined to be the biological father, the court will issue a paternity order.
What Does Paternity Mean?
Paternity just means legal fatherhood. It is important because until paternity is established, a father does not have any legal rights related to their child. Similarly, a child cannot seek benefits off a father’s record, may not be able to take the father’s last name (and may not even know who their father is), cannot spend time with their father, etc. Additionally, a mother cannot seek child support benefits from an alleged father when paternity has not been legally established by the court.
How Can Our Law Firm Help?
If you have questions about establishing paternity and seeking custody of your child, our law firm can help. If you and your child’s mother are both willing, we can get you set up with signing and filing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form. If there is resistance to that, we can assist you in filing a petition with the court that will require the mother to allow the child in question to submit to genetic testing in order to compare against your own DNA.
Once paternity has been established, our lawyers can help you to petition the court for custody, negotiate a parenting plan, or even litigate your case before a judge.
Call Our Texas Fathers’ Rights Attorneys Today
Your relationship with your child is one of the most important things in the world. For help ensuring that relationship is protected, call our fathers’ rights attorneys in Texas at the office of Musemeche Law, P.C. today.