Lewisville Paternity Rights Lawyers
Paternity and Paternal Rights in Texas
It is important and necessary for children to receive love and support from both of their parents. There are times, however, when Texas fathers are not allowed to see their children or when there is a disagreement regarding parentage. If you have questions about your rights as a father, it's time to seek legal guidance. Understanding Texas family law with regards to paternity and paternal rights is the first step towards receiving the time you need with your child.
The experienced Lewisville family law attorneys at Steele Law P.C. are familiar with constantly evolving laws and procedures. We help parents properly and fully understand their legal rights and options when it comes to caring for their children and forging a strong bond with them. Please contact Steele Law P.C. at (214) 333-4357 to get the help and counsel you need.
Presumed and Alleged Fathers
Under Texas law, a man is presumed to be the father of a child if:
- He is married to the mother at the time of the birth or
- He was married to the mother within 301 days of the birth of the child or
- He resided in the household with the child during the first two years of the child's life and presented himself to be the father.
When a man is presumed to be the father, he is given all the rights and duties of a parent. Anyone other than the presumed father who claims fatherhood is only considered an alleged father under the law. This is an important distinction because a presumed father does not have to take any tests to maintain his legal rights. However, an alleged father who wishes to have paternal rights will have to secure acknowledgement of paternity or file a lawsuit to prove fatherhood.
What Are the Time Limits on Filing for Paternal Rights in Texas?
Alleged fathers who wish to have paternal rights will have to act quickly. There are time limitations on when a man may claim paternity. If there is no presumed or acknowledged father, a man may file a lawsuit claiming paternity until the child becomes an adult. If, however, there is a presumed father, the alleged father will have to file a lawsuit before the child's fourth birthday. Failing to file a lawsuit in time can effectively prevent the alleged father from receiving paternal rights.
Benefits for the Child and Father
Fathers in Texas have many rights and privileges, and there are benefits for the child to have an established father as well. For example, a child may be eligible for benefits that the father receives through health insurance, Social Security and veteran's benefits. If the father dies, the child may be entitled to a portion of the father's estate.
For the father, paternity allows certain custody rights of the child. This is particularly important if the father and mother are going through a divorce or if the mother is deceased. Paternal rights can also grant the father visitation rights and influence over important decisions regarding the child's upbringing.
Rights of Fathers in Texas
Under Texas Family Code Section 151.001, a father may possess a number of different rights and responsibilities including:
- Custody of the child
- Right to be involved in the religious upbringing of the child
- Responsibility to support the child with shelter, food, health care and education
- Right to establish residence
- Right to provide or accept child support payments
- Right to make choices about the education of the child
It is even possible for a paternal father to gain sole conservatorship of the child under certain circumstances. In such cases, the best interests of the child is the most important factor.
The skilled Lewisville Christian family law attorneys at Steele Law, P.C. understand the emotional rollercoaster ride divorce and child custody issues can be. Fathers are a very important part of their children's lives. Despite any obstacles or challenges faced, it is important to stay positive and clearly understand your legal rights and options. Please contact us at (214) 333-4357 to schedule your consultation.