What Rights Does a Father Have to See His Child in Texas?

What Rights Does a Father Have to See His Child in Texas?

As a father, you are deeply concerned about being able to spend time with your child. You love your child and want what’s best for them – and you know that involves being able to see both of their parents. Now, you’re wondering: What rights does a father have to see his child in Texas? By finding out the answer, you can determine what course of action to take and how to find the right representation for your child custody case.

Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC in Houston, Texas are certified in family law mediation, take a collaborative approach with their clients to ensure that their clients reach solutions that work well for their families, and are devoted entirely to the practice of family law. We are fierce advocates for our clients and we’d be happy to assist you with child custody issues like paternal rights. Reach out to us today for an initial consultation.

Establishing Paternity

In Texas, if you are not married to the mother of your child, Texas does not automatically recognize you as the legal father. Conversely, if you are married, then you are recognized as the legal father.

If you’re unmarried, you will need to establish your identity as the legal father. Unmarried parents can either sign a legal document that’s called an Acknowledgment of Paternity or you can get a court order. Many times, parents will sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity at the hospital when the child is born. However, you can only file this if your child is born in Texas. If you are getting a court order, you may have to go through genetic (DNA) testing to establish paternity.

Once paternity has been established, a father will have rights, which could include communicating with and seeing the child. It also gives the child access to financial support from both parents, including child support, and benefits like insurance, inheritance, and Social Security.  

The Legal Right to See Your Child

In the past, children lived primarily with their mothers.  Over time, that has changed. Today, fathers are very involved in their children’s lives and there are many men who are responsible for the primary care of their children. Judges are never supposed to favor one parent over the other because of gender, preconceived notions or personal biases. They need to be impartial, look at the facts, and then decide.

Keep in mind that the court will still decide which parent is the custodial parent, or the one with primary custody. While you both can make decisions regarding your child’s health care, education, and other important issues, the parent with primary custody gets to spend more time with their child. A visitation schedule will be set for the non-custodial parent, who also has to pay child support.

Coming Up With a Child Custody Agreement and Child Support

In Texas law, the Standard Possession Order, or SPO, will show the visitation time for each parent.

If you live less than 100 miles away from your co-parent, then you get the first, third, and fifth weekend of each month, every Thursday evening during the school year, every other holiday and Spring Break, and a 30-day span over summer vacation.

If you live more than 100 miles away from your co-parent, the weekend visitation could remain the same, or it could be one weekend per month of your choice, the holidays stay the same, you get every spring break, and a 42-day span over summer vacation with your child.

When it comes to child support, the amount you pay is based on your net resources.  If you have one child, you’re going to pay 20% of your net resources, 25% for two children, 30% for three children, 35% for four children, and 40% if you have five or more children.

Changing a Custody Agreement or Child Support

If you want to change your custody agreement, you will need to enlist the help of a family law lawyer – who may have been your divorce lawyer – to get the court order modified. You cannot decide on your own to change your custody agreement. Even if you and the other parent are in agreement, you need to make changes to the formal order just in case. If you decide to make changes without going to a lawyer and the court first, you could end up hurting your chances of getting what you want.

When it comes to child support, you will also need to stick to what the court order says until you can consult with your lawyer and formally update it. If you lost your job or something else happened and you can’t afford your payments anymore, you will need to wait until the court modifies the order. In the meantime, pay as much as you can and communicate to your co-parent what’s going on. The court may lower your payments if you show that you can’t pay your child support obligation anymore.

Contact Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC

If you need help with trying to see your child, you can reach out to Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC for help. We’ll work hard on your child custody case and be your source of support in your time of need. Make sure you get in touch online or by calling us at (713) 333-4430. We look forward to assisting you.