The most important role in your life might be being a dad. But if you and your children’s mother live apart or are divorcing, you might worry that your ability to be an involved parent will be taken away.

You could minimize that possibility by working with a Wells Branch father’s rights lawyer at Angela Faye Brown & Associates. Although the law is supposed to treat parents equally, an experienced family attorney could ensure that your voice is heard and respected when arranging what is best for your children.

Parents Have Equal Rights to Managing Conservatorship

When parents divorce, the law grants them each the right to have significant parenting time and make decisions on behalf of their child. Physical custody and decision-making rights are called managing conservatorship. In the state of Texas, the law presumes it is best for the child if parents share parental responsibilities roughly equally, and courts favor joint managing conservatorships whenever possible and appropriate.

Child Custody

When deciding where a child should live most of the time, the court considers which parent has been the primary caregiver, among other factors. If the parents shared duties such as getting children ready for school, dropping them off or picking them up, preparing meals, and helping with homework, then neither parent has a real advantage.

A dedicated Wells Branch father’s rights attorney could ensure the court knows the extent of the father’s day-to-day involvement in the children’s lives and activities. If the father can establish that his schedule and parenting skills warrant the children living with him most of the time, a court could grant him managing conservatorship.

Child Support

Both parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support to their children. Like many states, Texas bases child support on a formula that considers income, the number of children the parent supports, the amount of time the children spend with each parent, and multiple additional factors.

Child support is not gender-based. If a mother earns more than a father, a father has more children to support, or the father provides a home for the children most of the time, the mother might pay child support to the father.

Legal Paternity Bestows Parental Rights

One way that the law discriminates against fathers is the mother is the sole legal parent of a child born out of wedlock. A baby does not have a legal father even if the father signs the birth certificate.

Legal parenthood confers parental rights; biological parenthood does not. A father who was not married to the child’s mother and wishes to contribute to his child’s financial support and assert rights to custody or visitation must first establish paternity. The simplest way to do this is for both parents to sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity and file it with the state’s Bureau of Vital Statistics.

If a mother refuses to sign the Acknowledgment, a father may bring a court action to establish paternity with the help of a father’s rights lawyer in Wells Branch. The court will likely order genetic testing to establish the petitioner is the biological father. If so, the court will issue a Determination of Parentage, which confers parental rights and obligations on the father. The father will be obliged to pay child support, and if he seeks custody or visitation, the court will determine whether to grant the request based on the child’s best interest.

Domestic Violence Could Limit a Father’s Rights

If a father has a verified history of domestic abuse, that history will impact the father’s custody rights. Texas state law bars judges from awarding joint conservatorship if a parent has a history of violence against the other parent, a spouse, or a child. A father’s visitation could be limited if they have committed domestic abuse within the preceding two years or ever physically or sexually abused a child.

In a bitter divorce, the mother might allege violence or abuse in the home to punish the father. Texas Family Code §153.013 makes it a civil offense to raise false abuse allegations, and a court could hold the false allegations against the mother when making conservatorship decisions. A tenacious Wells Branch attorney could push back against unverified allegations of abuse and expose them for attempts to manipulate the courts into limiting a father’s right to access to his children.

When a father has a domestic violence conviction or a protective order was issued regarding the other parent or child, a father does not necessarily lose their rights. The court might issue an order that visits with children be supervised, require the father to complete a treatment program, or implement other measures allowing contact between parent and child while ensuring the child’s safety.

A Wells Branch Father’s Rights Attorney Could Protect Your Relationship with Your Child

For most dads, losing their relationship with their children is their greatest concern during a divorce or separation. Although the fear is understandable, the law requires that courts try to preserve that relationship to the extent possible.

A Wells Branch father’s rights lawyer could ensure you receive fair treatment. Schedule a case review with one of the seasoned attorneys at Angela Faye Brown & Associates today.