A Mother’s Rights and How a Child Custody Lawyer in Tyler Can Help
If you’re ready to move forward with a divorce, it’s important to understand each parents’ rights when it comes to child custody and visitation. It’s even more critical to understand these rights if you and your unmarried partner are splitting up.
If either of these situations are familiar to you, continue reading to learn more about what to expect when you file for child custody, as well as how a child custody lawyer in Tyler, TX can help protect your rights and the rights of your child.
Rights of Unmarried Mothers in Texas
In Texas, mothers who are unmarried automatically have sole custody of their child until the father can establish paternity. Until the father pursues and proves paternity, he does not have the right to make legal decisions regarding that child, including their religious practices, education, and/or physical or mental health. Furthermore, visitation rights are not granted unless the paternity of the child is clear.
There are several ways a father can establish paternity. The father can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form that also has to be signed by the mother in order to go into effect. The father could go to court and file a paternity action, which will establish whether or not he’s the biological father using a DNA test. If you’re an unmarried mother, you should meet with an experienced child custody lawyer in Tyler, TX to discuss what your options are and whether or not the father can establish paternity and its effect on your existing child custody arrangement.
Rights of Married Mothers in Texas
In the state of Texas, if a mother is married, she automatically shares custody with her spouse. Texas law presumes that the husband is the father until proven otherwise. A woman is a joint custodian, which means she has equal rights and will jointly make important decisions regarding the child’s health, education, residence, and well-being.
When a couple goes through a divorce, that’s where custody conflict usually occurs. After all, spending time with your child is of the utmost importance; understandably, both parents would want to spend the most time with their children.
Until your divorce is finalized, you’re still married under Texas law. All of the rights under joint custody still are legal. This means you can’t take your child out of state or make any sort of legal decision without the father’s input. Filing for divorce doesn’t remove the father’s right to the child and you can get into trouble for trying to deprive the father of his rights during this time.
How is Child Custody Determined in the State of Texas? (And Why a Child Custody Lawyer in Tyler, TX Can Help)
Texas courts focus on what’s in the child’s best interests. While both parents may want their child to live with them, the court bases this decision on a few key factors. These factors include:
- A history of child/partner abuse and/or neglect
- The financial and emotional stability of each parent
- The child’s physical and emotional needs
- Each parents’ work schedule and responsibilities. Does one parent work long, varied hours or have to travel out of town on business often?
- The child’s relationship with each parent, and their preference (if they are old enough). In Texas, a child who is 12 years old or older is old enough to make this determination.
In most cases, mothers can file for a temporary child custody order while divorce proceedings are pending, or while paternity is pending. If you have questions about this particular process, an experienced family law attorney can help.
A Mother’s Right to Visitation in Texas
Texas courts want a child to have a healthy relationship with both parents. That’s why a mother should seek visitation rights if she’s not the custodial parent. The amount of visitation time you get depends on several factors. These include where you live and how old your children are. No visitation is granted if rights are terminated. Termination is only common in cases of neglect and abuse.
Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in Tyler, TX Today
Child custody is often one of the most contentious issues for separating parents. If you have questions about your rights or the rights of your soon-to-be-ex, call Sarina D. Hager of Hager Law Firm in Tyler, TX today. Sarina Hager has 30 years of experience under her belt. She works with you to protect your rights. Attorney Hager will advocate for you and your child. Call today at (903) 466-0001 to schedule a child custody consultation.