Rights of unwed fathers

Fathers in Texas and elsewhere take on a similar parental role as mothers. Today, they are just as involved in the upbringing, causing more fathers to have this recognized during a divorce or when unwed parents break up. Father’s rights are a growing issue, as fathers seek to have equal rights to mothers when it comes to custody and placement.

What are father’s rights?

In simple terms, father’s rights refer to the rights a father has with regards to his children. In the terms of child custody, this means the right to seek custody and parenting time with their child or children. In cases where the mother gets sole custody of the child, meaning they have exclusive physical and legal custody over the child, the father has the right to seek visitation of the child.

A shared custody arrangement means that both parents share decision making responsibility for the child and will often have equal parenting time with the child. However, this may not always play out that way, as fathers may receive much less time.

Asserting father’s rights

For unwed fathers, asserting father’s rights means first establishing paternity. This means signing an acknowledgement that he is in fact the father. In some cases, a paternity test may be necessary. Once paternity is established, the father is able to pursue visitation and custody rights of the child.

At this point, parents could negotiate a parenting agreement, which could detail if they have shared custody, or if not, which parent has primary custody as well as the periods of visitation and specifics about decision making regarding the child. The visitation rights of an unwed father are often dependent on various factors. This includes the relationship with the child, any history of abuse, drug and alcohol use and other factors, such as criminal record or domestic violence involving the child’s mother.

Navigating father’s rights matters can be emotional and challenging. Whether there are claims of abuse or not, it can be taxing on the father to achieve equal rights as the mother, Thus, it is important to fully understand one’s situation and what options they might have when it comes to securing child custody and protecting their rights.

 

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