Do Unmarried Fathers Have Custody Rights?
If you are an unmarried father, establishing paternity is essential. Call a Texas paternity lawyer immediately to learn more.
You might think that your marital status has nothing to do with your rights as a father in Texas, but you would be wrong. If you are unmarried at the time of your child’s birth, it is very important that you learn about our state’s paternity laws and your rights as an unmarried father. For answers to all of your tough questions about your rights as a father, call the office of John Powell III, P.C. today.
Can You Pursue Custody if You are Unmarried at the Time of Your Child’s Birth?
When fathers are married at the time of their child’s birth, they automatically are awarded parental rights; paternity is automatically established. On the other hand, if you are not married at the time of your child’s birth, the legal rights of the child’s mother are granted automatically, but the legal rights of the father are not.
Establishing Paternity in Texas
If you are an unmarried father at the time of your child’s birth, paternity will not automatically be established. And until paternity is established, you will have no rights pertaining to your child. This means that you cannot seek custody of or visitation with your child.
In order to establish paternity if you are unmarried to your child’s mother, there are two options:
- Sign a voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. If both you and the child’s mother sign a voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP), the paternity will be established. This is the easiest way to establish paternity when the mother and father are not married.
- Get a court order. If a man and a child’s mother are in disagreement about whether or not the man is the child’s father and therefore one party does not wish to sign a voluntary AOP, another option is to get a court order. Through a court order, the court can require the man to submit to genetic testing to determine whether or not the man is the child’s biological father. If so, then the court can establish paternity.
Your Rights After Paternity is Established
After paternity is established, you will have more rights. These rights include the right to seek custody of your child if you should so choose. If you do not have custody, the mother of the child will have the right to seek child support payments from you.
Call Our Texas Paternity Lawyer Today to Learn More
Establishing paternity is one of the most important things that you should do if you are an unmarried father. At the law office of John Powell III, P.C., our experienced Texas paternity lawyer is available to work with you to help you understand your rights and how to establish paternity in our state, as well as what follows after paternity has been established. To learn more about your options and how we can help, please call our law firm directly today or send us a message telling us more about your situation.