Parents in Texas may benefit from learning more about the rights that unmarried fathers are typically afforded. In order to have parental rights, unmarried fathers may be required to establish paternity and demonstrate an ongoing commitment to parenting their child. In order to prevent a child from being given up for adoption, an unmarried father will need to have already established and acknowledged paternity. Fathers who do not establish paternity may not have any rights over the child.
If an unmarried father waits too long to establish paternity, a family judge may perceive the delay as a lack of commitment to the child. In regards to preventing an immediate adoption, some courts may expect an unmarried father to establish paternity before childbirth. Unmarried fathers who find out they have a child after the adoption has already been finalized may be left with no recourse.
In order to have the best opportunity at preventing an adoption, unmarried fathers are advised to find out about potential children as early as possible. Family courts may start the clock on unmarried fathers establishing paternity once the child is born, or even while the mother is still pregnant. In order to demonstrate a commitment to the child, unmarried fathers are expected to share in the appropriate expenses occurring before and after childbirth.
Parents who need more information about unmarried fathers' rights or adoption may benefit from consulting a family lawyer. Legal counsel may be equipped in safeguarding the parent's rights or ensuring that paternity is established properly in a timely manner. Family lawyers may also be effective in helping parents negotiate various aspects of the parenting plan, such as custody rights, child support and a visitation schedule.
Source: Findlaw, "Fathers' Rights", November 17, 2014