Mothers’ Rights Lawyer Austin, TX
If you’re a mom about to go through a divorce, you may currently be looking for the best mothers’ rights lawyer Austin, TX, has to offer. You may be worried about how Texas courts view parental fitness and whether there is a bias toward fathers. These worries are understandable. Know that you don’t have to navigate this challenging time alone. By working with a child custody lawyer Austin, TX residents trust, you’ll better ensure that your child custody case is decided fairly, with the true best interests of your child in mind.
The ‘Best Interests’ Standard for Child Custody
Gender bias is not usually a factor in divorce-prompted child custody decisions, either in statute or in practice. In fact, in the past, when there was clear gender bias, courts were more likely to favor mothers over fathers due to the commonly held belief that women were naturally better caregivers and that children most needed their mothers during the “tender years.” Backlash from this process led to courts favoring fathers, even when doing so didn’t suit the best interests of the children in question.
These days, Texas law requires courts and judges to make custody decisions only in the best interests of the child or children. In many cases, that generally means keeping both parents actively involved in a child’s life – assuming that both parents are deemed fit.
Unmarried Mothers Do Have Legal Advantages in Custody Cases
The information above applies to custody decisions prompted by the divorce of two parents. Things work somewhat differently if two parents who were never married are involved in a custody dispute.
According to Texas law, men who are unmarried to the mother of their children at the time of conception/birth are not automatically granted parental rights. Mothers, on the other hand, are given full parental rights and considered the sole custodian of the child. If no further legal action is taken by either party, this is the way things remain.
In order to gain parental rights, a man must establish paternity of his child. He can take a DNA test comparing his DNA to that of the child, then file a paternity action in court. Alternatively, he can sign an “Acknowledgement of Paternity form” declaring himself to be the father. This is only valid, however, if the mother also signs it.
Establishing Paternity: Pros and Cons for Mothers
If you are an unmarried mother and currently have sole custody of your child or children (and want to keep it that way), you may be against your former partner establishing paternity. If he does, he could petition the court for visitation or custody rights.
The tradeoff to establishing paternity, however, is the potential obligation to pay child support. If you will be seeking child support from your former partner, he has no obligation to pay if his paternity has not been established. Therefore, you may be left without financial help if your former partner is never legally established as the father of your child or children.
Contact Us Today for More Information
The team at Gray & Becker, P.C is proud to assist all fit parents – female and male – in advocating to stay actively involved in their children’s life through the child custody process. To discuss your specific legal needs and concerns, contact our office to speak to an experienced Austin, TX mothers’ rights lawyer today. We look forward to speaking with you.