As a parent, your child is your number one priority from the day they are born. If you are a father, you likely understand that the legal rights you have with regards to your child help you keep them safe as important decisions are made for the child’s future. If you are an unmarried father in the state of Texas, your biggest concern may have to do with what rights you possess with regards to your child.
Moffett Law Firm is a Texas family law firm with over 30 years of combined experience helping married and unmarried fathers understand their rights with regards to their children. We have significant experience helping families in matters concerning child custody, visitation, and parental rights.
Understand The Rights of Unmarried Fathers in Texas
In the state of Texas, even if the father signed the birth certificate of the child, if they are unmarried, they possess no parental rights. This means that an unmarried father has no inherent right or access to their children. The mother of the child has the sole right to decide when, and if, the father will have any visitation with their children.
If you are an unmarried father and are concerned about the lack of rights you have with regard to your children, it is in your best interest to speak with the experienced Texas family law attorneys at Moffett Law Firm to get help with your case. There are steps you can take to maintain your relationship with your children and gain further rights.
Can an Unmarried Father Protect Their Relationship With Their Children?
While unmarried fathers in Texas do not have any legal rights with regards to their children, there are still options available to them to establish and maintain their relationship with their kids. A lawsuit affecting the parent-child relationship such as a SAPCR or paternity suit establishes clear guidelines and rules for sharing parenting time.
These orders can also provide unmarried fathers in Texas other legal rights. These rights may include the following:
- The right to discipline their children
- The right to make and participate in meaningful decisions like where the child will attend school or who will be the child’s doctor
With the help of a Texas family law attorney, you can pursue one of these orders that will allow you to remain a large part of your child’s life despite being unmarried.
Can Establishing Paternity Create an Unmarried Father’s Rights?
In Texas, for an unmarried man to become a child’s legal father and obtain parental rights, they need to first establish paternity of the child in question. There are two ways to establish the paternity of a child depending on the circumstances and those options are as follows:
- Acknowledgment of Paternity: Also referred to as AOP, in this scenario the father executes an Acknowledgement of Paternity upon the child’s birth acknowledging that he is the father of the child.
- Petition To Adjudicate Parentage: An unmarried Father can file a Petition to Adjudicate Parentage asking the court to establish his paternity to the child and establish his parental rights. Once the case is concluded, the unmarried father is legally adjudicated as the father of the child the subject of the suit and his paternity is established.
In each scenario, the father may be required by a judge to take a DNA test to complete the establishment of his paternity. To get help understanding your options with regards to establishing paternity, contact the trusted family law attorneys at Moffett Law Firm today.
Speak With a Texas Family Law Attorney to Get Help
Nothing is worse than feeling as if you have no legal rights when it comes to your child. If you are an unmarried father in Texas, our team of trusted family law attorneys can help you establish paternity so you can have the rights you deserve when it comes to making decisions about your child’s life.
Moffett Law Firm is a Texas family law firm with more than 30 years of combined experience helping clients with all matters in relation to child custody and family law. To schedule a consultation with one of our Texas attorneys, contact us here or call (713) 333-5800.