Although many decide to have child following marriage, the reality is that many decide to have children without taking that legal step. Unmarried parents are more and more common; however, just like married parents, unmarried parents experience rough points in their relationships. When this occurs, they may decide it is best to part ways. Whether parents were together for a small portion or several years of their child’s life, the reality is that they will need to address custody issues if the father seeks to obtain paternal rights.
How are paternal rights established for unmarried fathers? Whether it is Texas or any other state, the first thing an unmarried father must to is to establish paternity. This is typically done when both parents sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, filing it with the appropriate state agency or court. This is often completed at the time of the child’s birth.
Once paternity is established, a father is about to pursue visitation and custody rights. If parents are able to determine visitation times and whether or not to have joint legal custody, it is possible to file a parenting agreement at this time. If the parents do not agree, the parents can go to court to have a judge determine what is in the best interests of the child when developing a parenting agreement.
While it is possible for parents to collaborate and work together to make a workable parenting agreement, this is not always the case. Parents could find themselves in a serious dispute, especially if one parent is claiming that the other is unfit. Although there is the presumption that having both parents involved in the upbringing benefits the child, if a parent has committed domestic abuse or has issues with drugs or alcohol, it might be in the best interests of the child to not be around that parent.
Family law matters can be tough to deal with. They are often very emotional and could involve decisions that seriously impact those involved. Thus, it is vital to take the time to fully understand the situation. This will help parents take the rights steps to ensure the best interests of their child is met and protected.