Fatherhood brings joy into the lives of many men. They love and support their children and always want what is best for them. And their children need their fathers to be active participants in their upbringing.

However, the role of fathers is too often diminished by a divorce or dissolution of a romantic relationship with the mother. This occurs despite Texas law holding a father’s right to be with his children as sacrosanct. When fathers face alienation from their offspring, they must assert their father’s rights.

What Are Father’s Rights?

Father’s rights are a collection of laws that protect fathers from becoming alienated from their children. But the father’s rights are not automatic. To protect them, fathers must assert them.

Father’s inalienable rights include the following:

The Right to Visitation

Visitation is the most sacrosanct of father’s rights. Courts grant visitation as a matter of course because it is presumed to be in the best interest of the child.

Even in cases involving violent fathers, courts will grant visitation, though they may require it to be supervised for the child’s safety. Termination of visitation rights is exceptionally rare; however, if the court deems the father is too much of a danger to the child, it can withdraw the right to visitation.

For example, a court may terminate a father’s parental rights if he is a convicted child molester in the best interests of the child.

The Right to Joint Custody

Even if the kids live with their mom, fathers can share custody. Texas’s joint custody law permits fathers to have their say in how the child is raised. When they have joint custody, fathers have input in choosing where the children live and go to school. He has the right to attend parent/teacher conferences and make decisions on religious influences. In essence, joint custody allows fathers to fully participate in their child’s upbringing even if the kids live full-time with the mother.

The Right to Seek Primary Conservatorship

Texas law employs the term conservatorship instead of custody, though the terms are interchangeable. While many fathers are satisfied with joint custody with the children residing with the mother, they have the right to seek primary conservatorship, where the kids reside with them.

In the past, courts have been biased toward granting mothers primary conservatorship. There was a presumption that mothers were better suited to raise children in all cases unless the mother was somehow unable to care for the children.

For example, in previous eras, the court may have granted the father primary conservatorship if the mother had an illness that made it impossible for her to care for the children. In other instances, the court would give the father sole custody if the mother had a history of child abuse or drug addiction.

In today’s environment, courts no longer enforce this bias. The father has an equal right to seek primary conservatorship. The court makes its decision based on what’s in the best interests of the child. If the father convinces the court that living with him best suits the child, he can win a custody battle.

The Right to Receive Child Support

In previous decades, courts virtually always gave the kids to the mother and ordered the father to pay child support. A mother paying father-child support was virtually unheard of.

But times have changed. Courts are willing to grant primary custody to fathers when they show the child is better off living with their dad. When this occurs, the father has the right to receive child support.

The costs of raising a child can seem astronomical. Single parents have a difficult time making ends meet, leading to stress and a need to spend too much time away from their children just to make a living. Child support mitigates this problem, making it possible for a single parent to financially survive, including when the single parent is a father.

The Right to Establish Paternity

The media makes a lot of noise about fathers denying paternity to avoid paying child support. While this does occur, most fathers want to be involved in their children’s lives, even if it creates a financial burden.

In some cases, the mother may prefer to forego child support to keep the father away from the children. When this happens, the father has the right to establish paternity and seek visitation and conservatorship. The court can order a paternity test that establishes a father’s right to be with his children.

Most fathers want to be involved in their children’s lives, whether that means visitation, joint conservatorship, or primary conservatorship. Texas law has evolved to be more friendly toward fathers’ rights. But these rights are not automatic. Fathers must claim them through the legal process.

Call Us Today to Speak with a Fathers’ Rights Lawyer in Dallas, TX

At Aberdeen Family Law, we fight hard to defend the parental rights of fathers. Our experienced child custody lawyers know how to fight gender discrimination in child custody cases. We have helped many fathers protect their rights to parenting time and legal decision-making in order to maintain healthy relationships with their children. Call (972) 914-3986 to schedule your consultation.

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