While mothers are traditionally more likely to obtain “custody” of children during a divorce in Texas, fathers have significant rights when it comes to their children. Custody is not the only right issue in a divorce. Visitation, input into decisions regarding schooling, residence location, health care, and other issues related to child-rearing also come into play when determining a parent’s rights regarding their children.
Texas Law Protects The Rights Of Both Parents In A Divorce
While the mother is traditionally most likely to be awarded custody of any children in a divorce, Texas law specifically provides that both parents retain parental rights. The only requirement to obtain parental rights is to be found the legal parent of a child – no marriage necessary. Marriage makes it easier sometimes, as a man is presumed to be the father of a child born during his marriage to the child’s mother, shortly after, or shortly before. However so long as there is no paternity dispute (i.e., two possible fathers), the question is easily resolved in most cases without DNA testing or other court-ordered inquiries.
Being the father of children in a divorce brings with it the right to seek custody of those children. Even if a suit for “full custody” by a father is not successful, the father of children in a divorce does not sacrifice the rights to be involved in these children’s lives or to participate in decisions affecting them after the divorce is final. If the parties cannot reach agreements, ultimately the Texas divorce court will decide what rights and duties each parent will have and how extensive are those rights and duties. But a father nonetheless retains parental rights.
For example, both parents generally have the right to make or participate in decisions regarding their children’s care and the Texas Family Code encourages the participation of both parents in the children’s lives. In all court decisions regarding parental rights and participation in a child’s life, the best interests of the child are the governing factor.
That participation includes making decisions regarding the children’s education, religious education, and health care. The father has a right to input regarding where the children go to school, the doctors they see, and where or whether they go to church during the father’s periods of possession. Other rights include access to educational and medical records of the children, although that access can be limited by legal requirements. This doesn’t mean the father gets to decide those issues on his own; it means he has the right to significant input. Obviously, and most importantly for many fathers, fathers retain the right to visitation under most circumstances.
Consult The Father’s Rights Lawyers Of Orsinger, Nelson, Downing, and Anderson LLP
Divorce is hard, and harder with children involved. If you are a father fighting for your right to be involved in your child’s life, you need to talk to the Fort Worth fathers’ rights lawyers of Orsinger, Nelson, Downing, and Anderson LLP can provide that help. You can reach us at (214) 273-2400.
The Texas divorce attorneys at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing, and Anderson LLP also have offices in Frisco, Dallas, and San Antonio. We’re here to help, and we have the experience and knowledge to do so.