Before Custody For Fathers Paternity Must First Be Established
There is no question that today when couples with children split, things are much different than they were even 20 years ago. Throughout the years a more equal parenting style has arisen in which more fathers play an active role in the lives of their children. Upon the end of the relationship, many seek to have the custody and visitation schedule mirror that relationship. Of course before a father can seek custody and visitation of a child he must first establish paternity. There are a couple of ways to go about doing this if a father is not named on a birth certificate.
The first is via an Acknowledgement of Paternity. Following this route both the child’s mother and father sign the form acknowledging that they are in fact the biological parents. Once the form is filed with the Texas Vital Statistics Unit this administrative process is at an end and the biological father is the legal father of the child. In addition to his name being included on the birth certificate he then has all duties and rights associated with that role.
In other situations, a court order could be appropriate. This approach may be used in situations where a parent is worried about violence or when either party is unsure if the suspected father actually is. The court order may be sought either via opening an Office of the Attorney General child support case or in the alternative, hiring your own lawyer to assist with the matter.
Regardless of how it is established, once paternity is established custody and visitation can be established. Because this is not always a straightforward easy process, working with a family law lawyer is often a good approach.