Unwed fathers have the same legal protections and responsibilities as married ones. Yet, single dads may have a worse time than married dads. Unwed fathers may have to go to court to establish paternity and visitation rights. Maybe you’re an unwed parent who’s been served a child support order and would also seek to establish visiting privileges. Get legal advice from an experienced child custody in Houston.
Rights of an Unmarried Father’s Children
It is important to note that in Texas, an unmarried father’s signature on a birth certificate does not grant him any legal parental rights. Legal paternity must be established before an unwed father is granted custody or visitation rights. Legal parenthood confers both rights and obligations, including the need to provide for and care for one’s kid.
Visitation Rights After Paternity Is Determined
For an unwed father to have visiting rights in Texas, he must first demonstrate paternity. There are two main approaches for an unwed father to prove paternity:
- By either signing a Paternity Acknowledgement or
- An official paternity test and court case.
An Acknowledgment of Paternity might be used as the most straightforward method of doing so. The Acknowledgement of Paternity needs to be signed by both parents. If neither parent is willing to sign, you will have to file a paternity suit in court. A court lawsuit can be filed to secure visitation rights for unwed dads if the mother of the child refuses to allow visits.
Paternity, Visitation, and Child Support Proceedings in Court
Even with an Acknowledgement of Paternity, various paternity-related concerns may still require legal action in the form of a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR). Visitation and child support orders are other court cases that need a SAPCR petition. A Suit for the Establishment of Parental Responsibility (SAPCR) is a legal proceeding in which a judge is asked to make decisions about matters relating to a child, such as paternity, conservatorship, visitation rights, and child support.
The legal system must first make a paternity determination. DNA testing is often mandated by the court for both parents and the kid. Once paternity is proved, the unwed father has the right to pursue visiting rights for himself and his kid.
When you become a parent legally, you take on certain responsibilities. This includes the need that unwed dads to pay child support. Child support is money paid by the parent who does not have primary custody to the parent who does.