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Fathers' Rights & Paternity

Fathers' Rights & Paternity Lawyers, Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex

Fathers' Rights

It is a common misconception that mothers will automatically get primary conservatorship of the child(ren). In fact, the father has the same rights as a mother does to get conservatorship of a child or children. Our law firm has represented many fathers in their custody battles and have been successful in gaining primary conservatorship of the children for their fathers. Don’t give up on your chance to have your children live with you just because you think a father doesn’t have a shot in court. The attorney’s at Turner-Monahan, PLLC are ready to fight for your rights. (Texas Family Code CHAPTER 153. CONSERVATORSHIP, POSSESSION, AND ACCESS)

Establishing Paternity

When a child’s parents are not married at the time of the birth of the child, the father has no legal rights as a parent. In order to establish parental rights and responsibilities, the father, mother or third party representing the child, must seek a declaration of paternity. Once a declaration of paternity is filed the parent-child relationship can be established between the father and the child. This process may establish custodial and/or visitation rights with the child as well as implementing a legal obligation to support the child financially. (Texas Family Code CHAPTER 160.)

There are several ways to establish a parent-child relationship with the father:

Acknowledgement of Paternity – An acknowledgement of paternity is an affidavit that must be signed by both the mother and father of the child and acknowledges that both parties signing are the parents of the child. This may be signed at the hospital before the baby is discharged or at a public health unit. To ensure that your rights are protected you should file this document with the bureau of vital statistics. This document may be used later in the child’s life to prove the paternity of the father should there be a need to do so. (Texas Family Code Sec. 160.301. Acknowledgement of Paternity) 

DNA Testing – If the parents did not sign an acknowledgment of paternity and the mother does not consent to the father’s paternity, the court can order DNA testing to determine who is the father of the child. (Texas Family Code Sec. 160.501. Testing)

Presumption – Under Texas law, if a man resides with a child for the first two years of that child’s life, the man is deemed the presumed father of the child. Being a presumed father gives a man standing to file an action in court to request custody, visitation, or other parental rights. (Texas Family Code Sec. 160.204. Presumption) 

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

Once a man establishes a parent-child relationship with the child, the father will enjoy certain rights and benefits that he may not otherwise have:

  • the right to request conservatorship (custody) of the child by a court order
  • the right to request visitation and/or possession of the child by a court order
  • the right to the child’s educational and medical information
  • the right to have a say in certain decisions regarding the child
  • legal proof that he is the father of the child

The attorneys at Turner-Monahan, PLLC have extensive experience in the area of establishing paternity and parental rights for fathers.

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