In Texas and the rest of the country, biological parents are entitled to pursue child custody or visitation. Whether the parents were married when the child was born is not considered a factor. Judges are obligated to make decisions regarding custody that benefit children the most. The involvement of both parents is typically considered to be beneficial to the child unless there is information that indicates this assumption may not be true.
A father is required to establish legal paternity if he wasn’t married to his child’s mother when the child was born. Paternity can be established by both parents filing a completed acknowledgment of paternity, or if the paternity is disputed, by one party initiating a legal process that makes use of a DNA test to determine paternity.
Parenting agreements may be negotiated before or after a legal process has been initiated. It may include specifics such as who will be the primary caregiver and make decisions regarding the children’s health care or education, visitation times and more. If parents are unable to agree on a parenting plan, the court will decide on the terms of the parenting plan, making sure that they are in best interest of the children.
Rarely do fathers gain sole custody if a child is already being raised by his or her mother. In order to be granted sole custody, an unmarried father would have to present evidence that he has been the child’s main caregiver or the mother is unfit.
A family law attorney may assist unmarried fathers with their child custody issues. The lawyer may explain the state statutes pertaining to child custody and advise on the appropriate legal action. The attorney may file motions to request modifications to child custody agreements, particularly with regard to visitation rights.