Divorced parents in Texas may benefit from learning more about the rights afforded to noncustodial parents. The state’s Office of the Attorney General provides a handbook that is designed to inform noncustodial parents about establishing paternity and assessing child support services. The guide was developed on the belief that the child’s quality life is best when both parents provide love and support.
Noncustodial status does not mean that the parent is unimportant or does not have any parental rights. The custodial parent, referred to as the managing conservator, is afforded the legal right to choose where the child will reside. This Office of the Attorney General refers to this legal right as having custody. The possessory conservator, commonly referred to as the noncustodial parent, is afforded the legal right to spend time with the child and remain privy to the child’s whereabouts.
The rights afforded to the noncustodial parents are often referred to as ‘possession” or ‘access and visitation”. Statistics indicate that approximately 90 percent of the noncustodial parents in Texas are fathers. The court may assume authority over child support if the noncustodial parent fails to respond to a summons. Unmarried parents can establish legal paternity by signing an Acknowledgment of Paternity agreement, simply having both names on the birth certificate does not suffice.
Parents who need help understanding the full consequences of signing these legal documents may benefit from consulting a family lawyer. Legal counsel may help uphold fathers’ rights by opening a child support case with the Office of the Attorney General in an effort to establish parameters regarding support payments, medical support, visitation and custody. Lawyers may also be able to provide assistance to noncustodial parents who are unable to pay support or only able to make partial payments.
Source: Office of the Attorney General, ‘HANDBOOK FOR NONCUSTODIAL PARENTS”, Child Support Division
Source: Texas Attorney General, “Handbook for noncustodial parents”, September 29, 2014