Historically, mothers were normally presumed to be more suitable than fathers to have custody of their children in the event of a breakup or divorce. Likewise, courts considered fathers as mere providers for the family. Fortunately, fathers and mothers now have the same rights and responsibilities under Texas law. This means that child custody cases must always be gender neutral.
Legal Rights of Unmarried Fathers
Before, unmarried fathers were granted few parental rights, and birthmothers could easily prevent biological fathers from asserting their parental rights. These days, fathers can assert their paternity, which is a legal determination of the child’s biological father.
Fathers can establish paternity by filing an Acknowledgement of Paternity. But if the mother objects to the paternity claim, the father can file a paternity suit with the Office of The Attorney General. Courts can also decide custody and visitation matters as part of the paternity suit.
Custody and Visitation Rights of Married and Biological Fathers
As a father, you and your child’s mother have equal legal standing. You can work out a fair custody agreement with your co-parent and have it approved by the court. If you can’t agree, the court will consider various factors to create a custody agreement that will be fair for everyone involved and serve the best interests of your child.
You and your co-parent can also create your own visitation arrangement or get the court involved if you can’t reach a fair agreement. Either way, the court will turn the agreement into a visitation order, which must be followed by everyone involved. It is essential to note that a parent who fails to comply with a custody or visitation order can be found in contempt of court and may face costly fines and time in jail.
There are, however, certain instances when the court will restrict a parent’s rights. For instance, if there is a history of abuse, neglect, or family violence, the court may order supervised visitations. Additionally, in cases involving repeated or severe abuse, the court may find that terminating parental rights would be in the best interests of the child.
Father’s Rights When The Mother Remarries
As the biological father or legal father of a child, your custody and visitation rights supersede any rights of other individuals, including a stepparent. However, if your child has been legally adopted by another individual, this will terminate most, if not all, of your parental rights. This means that any previous custody or visitation order will be null and void.
Even if your child’s mother and stepfather let you see your child, they are legally not obligated to do so, which means that they can decide, for whatever reason, to suddenly prevent you from seeing your child.
Seek Legal Guidance From a Top Texas Family Law Attorney Now
Contentious child custody cases, regardless if you’re the father or mother, can be complex and overwhelming. If you’re having issues with your child’s other parent, contact the Texas family law attorneys of Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC for legal advice. Reach us online or dial 210-222-9132 to set up a case consultation with our Texas family law attorney.