Lewisville Father's Rights Lawyer
What Rights Do Fathers Have?
Going through a divorce requires a strong will and a lot of patience. While Texas Courts focus on the best interests of a child or children during divorce and custody proceedings, parents often forget that they have rights too. All too often the importance of the father's continued involvement in his child's life is overlooked or minimized.
If you are a father who is currently struggling with child custody, child support, visitation, or paternity, don't give up. Even if you've been falsely accused of domestic violence or child abuse, a solution can be within reach.
As an experienced family law attorney in Texas, Dina Steele is highly familiar with the ins and outs of the justice system. By helping fathers to fully understand their legal rights and options in caring for their children and maintaining strong relationships with them, Dina Steele assists fathers in making informed decisions about the best course of action for their specific case. Contact Steele Law, P.C. today by calling (214) 333-4357.
It is a common assumption that mothers will always be appointed by the Court as the primary custodial parent of their children; however this is not always the case. The Texas Family Code states that the Courts shall not consider the gender of a parent when determining issues of custody and conservatorship of the children. According to the Texas Attorney General, approximately 10 percent of custodial parents are fathers. In fact, Attorney Dina Steele was raised by her father and spent visitation periods with her mother.
Child custody options in Lewisville include joint managing conservatorship and sole managing conservatorship. In a joint custody arrangement, both parents divide duties for maintaining a child's physical wellbeing, daily routine, contact with friends, support, and education; however, joint custody typically does not mean that both parents will have equal periods of possession of the child. In a sole custody arrangement, one parent is given primary custody of the child, as well as the exclusive right to make many of the important child rearing decisions, such as those concerning the child's education, psychological care and invasive medical care. In Texas, joint managing conservatorship is presumed to be in the best interest of the child.
When determining child custody, the Court considers many factors, including the following:
- The child's wishes
- The child's current and future emotional and physical needs
- The existence of any current and future emotional and physical danger to the child
- The parenting capabilities of each individual trying to get custody
- Overall plans for the child
- The availability of programs to help parents promote the best interests of the child
- Stability at the home
- The appropriateness of the current parent-child relationship through acts or omissions
- Excuses provided for any acts or omissions on the part of the parent
Visitation in Texas is referred to in legal terms as "periods of possession." A noncustodial parent who lives within 100 miles of the custodial parent is typically granted visitation in specific time blocks that are set forth in a "Standard Possession Order." These periods of possession include the below:
- A lengthy period of time, typically 30 days, for summer vacation
- Thursday nights every week
- First, third and fifth weekends each month
- Alternating holidays, such as Christmas or Thanksgiving every other year
Parents who live more than 100 miles are given additional options for flexibility under the Standard Possession Order.
While the Standard Possession Order is favored by Texas Courts as typically being in the child's best interest, it is not appropriate in every situation and one or both parents may seek to have a Modified Possession Order entered in their case that is better customized to the family's particular circumstances.
Paternity is defined as legal fatherhood in Texas. Even if a man is biologically the father of a child, he is not automatically recognized as the legal father if he isn't married to the child's mother. If parents aren't married when a baby is born, they have to confirm paternity. Legal fatherhood is automatic when a baby is born to married parents. As such, the husband of a woman who gives birth is referred to as the presumed father and both the mother and the father automatically have equal legal rights.
How much a parent owes for child support every month is determined by applying the state child support guidelines to the parent's net income, which is his or her pay after taxes, social security, and Medicare deductions. Although there are a few circumstances that can serve to reduce the amount of child support owed, support for one child is typically set as 20% of the non-custodial parent's net income and increases by 5% for each additional child within the same family, up to 40% of the non-custodial parent's net income. However, child support percentages can exceed 40% in special situations, such as when a parent has children living in multiple households. For more information about child support percentages for your particular circumstances, it would be best to consult with an experienced family law attorney.
Past-due child support is a serious matter and payments owed can be collected even after a child becomes an adult. What is more, with every month that passes and child support isn't paid, interest piles up, and the amount owed increases. Texas further penalizes those with past due child support by withholding the liable parent's access to certain licenses, such as a Concealed Handgun License or a Hunting License.
Shining the Light on Fathers
As a father, never forget that you are a very important part of your child's life. No matter what obstacles you face, staying positive and informed of your legal rights is key to helping ensure that the best interests of your child or children are met. Get in touch with Lewisville family law lawyer Dina Steele today for more information.