Fathers Rights Lawyer Austin, Texas
American society has made significant progress in the past half-century when it comes to gender equality. Gender roles are changing: Women are nearly equally represented in the workforce, and an increasing percentage of men are taking on the most or all parental duties in the household.
That being said, there is still a perception among parents in Texas that mothers are heavily favored in child custody rulings and that fathers simply don’t have much say in the matter. In reality, that is neither true in statute (law) nor in practice. It is true however, that every child custody case is unique. It’s therefore important not to make any assumptions about your personal legal situation before consulting with a child custody lawyer Austin, TX residents trust. As you prepare for a consultation with the experienced Austin, Texas fathers rights lawyer team at Gray & Becker, P.C., take a few minutes to review the basics of this area of law noted below. As you have questions about this material generally and your situation specifically, please write those questions down. That way, you’ll be able to reference your concerns easily during our meeting and you’ll be able to walk away from your initial consultation with a more informed sense of how you may want to proceed.
What the Law Says About Custody Decisions
Texas family law courts follow the “best interests of the child” standard in child custody decisions. This means that the child’s best interests are the guiding principle in custody rulings, not either parent’s wishes or either parent’s gender.
In many cases where both parents are fit and can cooperate peacefully with one another, it is considered in a child’s best interests to maintain strong relationships with both parents. This doesn’t necessarily mean a perfectly equal division of time with the child. It may be that one parent is still considered the primary custodian and the other is named the non-custodial parent, even if the parenting split is relatively close to 50-50. Importantly, however, the designation of the primary custodial parent is not at all based on gender.
Does gender bias exist among certain judges? A basic understanding of human behavior suggests that this is likely. However, most judges are concerned exclusively (or at least primarily) with meeting the best interests of the child or children involved. As a result, if it’s in your child’s best interests to remain with you for a certain amount of time, you’ll stand a good chance of convincing the court of that reality with the help of an experienced Austin, Texas fathers rights lawyer.
Fathers’ Rights Issues when Parents are Unmarried
The law can be more antiquated when it comes to children born or conceived out of “wedlock.” When a father isn’t married to the mother of his child at conception or birth, he does not have legal parental rights until those rights are established. Mothers automatically have parental rights as a result of giving birth, but unmarried fathers must establish paternity and petition the court for their rights.
Paternity can be established by a father in two ways. First, the mother can sign an affidavit confirming that he is the father. Second, he can take a DNA test comparing his DNA to that of the child. If the mother refuses to cooperate, he will need to hire an Austin, Texas fathers rights lawyer to help him petition the court to force compliance.
After paternity has been established, the man can then petition the court for parental rights. Once those rights have been implemented, the father can then take other legal actions, as needed, including seeking custody and visitation rights.
Contact Us To Discuss Your Rights and Legal Options
Our firm is dedicated to helping any client assert their rights as a parent and work to maintain the important bonds they have with their children. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact our office to arrange an initial consultation with an experienced Austin, Texas fathers rights lawyer today. We look forward to speaking with you.