What Are a Father’s Rights in Texas?
Texas fathers have the same rights and responsibilities as mothers. It has been decades since fathers were seen as “extra” or “unnecessary” in a child’s life. The Texas court system wants joint custody agreements whenever possible. On the flip side, mothers may pay alimony to stay-at-home dads or child support to custodial dads.
The law requires that mothers and fathers are viewed equally in divorce proceedings, however, every parent needs the right legal representation from a Southlake Family Lawyer when facing a custody case.
Who Is a Father in Texas?
There are several ways to become a father in the state of Texas:
- If you are presumed to be the father (i.e., because you are married to the birth mother)
- If you have legally adopted the child
- If you have come forward acknowledging your paternity of the child (In this case, the mother must agree, and an Acknowledgement of Paternity form must be completed).
- If a judge has ruled that you are the child’s father (the mother filed a paternity suit against you and you failed to respond)
- If a DNA test reveals that you are the child’s father (the DNA test results must be documented by the court)
Equal Parenting Time
In the past, when a father spent time alone with his children, it might be referred to as “babysitting” or “visitation.” Today a father’s role and contributions are fully respected and acknowledged. When a man is interacting with his children, he is parenting, just like when a woman does the same. Considering these advancements, even if the mother is awarded primary custody, a father is still entitled to equal time with the children.
The courts, by law, must designate one of the parents as the primary custodian, even if there is joint custody. Don’t get stuck on being designated the custodial parent because, either way, you still have the right to be involved in decision-making and every aspect of parenting your children, even if you are the non-custodial parent.
Standard Possession Orders in Texas
By default, Texas courts will award a possession order (SPO) that looks something like the one below (in most cases). The typical Texas SPO is:
- Divorced parents will have their kids on alternating weekends (the weekend is defined as starting at 6:00 PM Friday and going to 6:00 PM on Sunday)
- The non-custodial parent will be awarded 30 days with the children in the summer
- They will alternate major holidays (even years with mom, odd years with dad, for example)
You are certainly welcome to peasant the court with a customized parenting plan, but this gives you an idea of what to expect if you let the judge decide.
Need a Southlake Family Lawyer?
Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Family Law are Southlake family law attorneys who can help you negotiate the optimal child custody situation – whether you are a father or mother. Contact us now to see what we can do for you and your children. We can assess your situation and provide you with recommendations and reviews from prior clients. Start protecting your parental rights today.