Father’s Rights


Child Support Image 2
I read an article today that estimated that more than 120,000 men paying child support for children that aren’t theirs. The article didn’t go into much detail regarding how that number was reached, but even if the true number were half that, it is still somewhat staggering. I have personally come across this enough times to think it probably isn’t that far off either. There are a number of different situations that can cause this, but the most common in my experience are when Mom will tell someone that they are currently romantically involved in that they are father and are the only person who could be the father. This person believes them and signs the birth certificate and/or a potential acknowledgement of paternity. Then, low and behold, they find out that Mom was sleeping with other people and begins to question paternity and/or gets a paternity test. It seems like the process should be simple at this point with how conclusive DNA testing. Simply show the evidence, get parental rights terminated, no more child support right? Not so fast! Unfortunately, almost nothing in the legal arena works simply, and this process least of all. First of all, pretty much everything in this process requires hiring an attorney, simply because every step of the process is like pulling teeth, and that creates its own complication for people struggling financially (child support payments for other people’s children certainly don’t help with this!). Second, even if you can conclusively prove you are not the father, the judge may determine that you are “effectively” the father either due to an acknowledgement of paternity, or based on the fact that you may have been acting as the father for this period of time. This means that you can still end up on the hook for past, […]

Men owe child support despite not being fathers   Recently updated !


stepchild adoption texas
Being a parent to a child doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be their biological parent. Parenthood can come in all forms. It can be from an uncle, aunt, grandparent, a close adult family friend, and even from a step-parent. While being step-parent may seem a little strange at first, it can result in a good parent-child relationship. Sometimes that relationship even grows so much that step-parents decide to take it further and adopt their step-children. Adoption Requirements Before a step-parent goes on to the adoption process, at least one of a few conditions must be met. Only one living biological parent remains and such a parent is absent. The parent has no involvement in the child’s life. The absent biological parent is okay with the adoption of the stepchild These are the conditions for the relinquishment of parental rights of the biological parent. The adoption process will begin once any of the conditions are met. The Adoption Process The adoption process is technically two steps: Relinquishing of the absent parent’s rights over their child The actual adoption process. The step-parent, together with their spouse, must file their petition to adopt their step-child at the local family court in the locality where the child resides. An evaluator will be then sent by the court to conduct a “social study” after the petition has been filed, a. This involves taking a closer look at the family by visiting their home and making observations. Employment and financial records are checked. Both the parents and the child are subjected to screening. After this, an amicus attorney is assigned to the child to look after the child’s best interests during the entire adoption process. Such an attorney will interview the step-parent, the biological parent, and the child. Once this is all done, the […]

How to Adopt Your Step-child in Texas



summer visitation
Many divorced parents have already come up with summer plans to spend with their children during that time. Exciting as it may, schedules for summer visitation tend to be confusing. The Texas Family Code provides some regulations. This article will talk about things to keep in mind when formulating a summer possession schedule.  Written Notice A written notice must be provided by the possessory conservator indicating their chosen vacation days by April 1st. This date may be changed by final orders. It is important to refer to their Divorce Decree, Final Order in Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship,  or Final Order in Suit to Modify the Parent-Child Relationship. The notice can be in the form of a letter, or other electronic communication such as e-mail. Make sure that the notice is in writing. Keep any proof of the sent notice. Never send the notice with the child to the other parent. The possessory conservator cannot select the days of visitation if the deadline has lapsed. However, if the managing conservator agrees to it, the possessory conservator may still choose the days of visitation. If there is no agreement on the dates, statue provides a schedule which will be the entire month of July. It starts at 6:00 PM on July 1st and ends at 6:00 PM on July 31st. An extension of summer designations is permitted as long as the possessory conservator gives notice in advance. Choosing the Dates The freedom to choose visitation dates has limitations. The day before the last day of school and a week before it starts cannot be chosen. The possessory conservator can choose to have up to 30 consecutive days for summer vacation. The managing conservator can select any weekend from Friday to Sunday. He or she will personally pick up at 6:00 PM […]

Summer Visitation for a Divorced Parent in Texas


child's last name
The obvious answer to the title of this article is yes! Your child is not required to take the last name of your former spouse. As you know, you are also not required to still use it after the divorce. This still needs to go through the proper court process. And of course, the child’s best interest is still the standard to be followed when the court makes its decision.  If you wish to change the names of your children, it is an easier process if the other parent consents. If the other parent disagrees, keep reading this article to know how to change your child’s name after divorce. Changing Your Child’s Name After Divorce Normally, if the father actively does his parental duties after divorce, courts rule that their right to have his children to use his surname is an automatic right. Although there is an evident partiality in this rule, however, this is no longer the case. This is because the standard to follow is the best interest of the child. The last name of the child is changed through a court petition. This petition is filed by the parent of the child, legal guardian or managing conservator. It is filed at the office of the district clerk in the county where the child resides. The filing fee is waived if the parent, legal guardian or managing conservator has a low income, provided they complete and file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs at the district clerk’s office as well. The parent who wishes to have the child’s name change must let the other parent know about this unless the parental rights of the other parent have been terminated. If the other parent consents to this, both of the parents can file the petition […]

Can I Change My Child’s Last Name After a Divorce?



Knowing What’s In Your Child’s Best Interests
Your child’s best interests will always be a key point in your divorce and child custody cases. As you are well aware, your child feels the impact of the divorce even more than you do. It’s really a sad reality that you have to accept and deal with properly. You and your spouse can have some control over the circumstances that affect your divorce, but your child is completely helpless. It is quite common for children to feel confused and misplaced when their parents are undergoing a divorce. As a parent, you obviously would want to protect your children. The divorce probably happened because you want to protect your children from your spouse’s wrongdoings or abusive behavior. Knowing what’s in your child’s best interests would definitely help in ensuring that they can have a normal life during and after the divorce. The conflicts and the many issues that you will have to deal with throughout the duration of your divorce could take its toll on you. You might lose sight of the fact that your children are your priority. You could be blinded by things that you will fail to recognize what’s in your child’s best interests. How can you play your divorce according to your child’s best interests? 1. Avoid the Courthouse It might come as a surprise to many that a lot of divorce cases don’t get into the courtroom. Contrary to what movies and television depict, most divorces actually end in settlement, hence, there’s no need to pay a visit to the judge. The only problem with this option is that you might find it difficult to deal with your spouse when you are still at the peak of your anger. If your spouse has terribly wronged you, it can be quite uncomfortable to work together to […]

Focusing on Your Child’s Best Interests


sperm donor
Being a sperm donor can be a pretty rewarding thing. As a sperm donor, you can help a couple that is unable to have a child on their own. You can help give them something they want but can’t have, and that’s a pretty noble thing to do. But what happens if things get complicated and suddenly, you’re being asked to pay for child support? The US Law on Sperm Donors As a general law, the United States protects sperm donors from paying child support. If you donate your sperm for artificial insemination, chances are you won’t have to worry about paying child support. In some states, it is a requirement that this insemination is done with the help of a medical professional. If the insemination wasn’t done through a medical professional, you may have to pay for child support. In other states, a medical professional does not need to be present for the insemination to take place. There should be an agreement stating that you will not have to pay for child support before the insemination. If the child was conceived through intercourse, some states may still require you to pay child support if needed. This is because you will be treated as the child’s biological father. It would be best to check what laws your state follows regarding these matters. Texas Law on Sperm Donors In the state of Texas, sperm donors are not required to have a medical professional present when donating sperm. Donors who would also like to be anonymous and choose not to get involved with the life of the child are not required to pay for child support. They will only have to pay for child support should they claim paternity over the child or if they happen to still be present and involved […]

Is a Sperm Donor Father Required to Pay Child Support?



getty rr photo of father and baby in bed
When a married couple has a child, even without properly establishing paternity, people will automatically assume that the husband is the father. In order for that thought to be legally changed at court, ample evidence is necessary. It’s different when an unmarried couple has a child, it is often necessary for one parent to establish the identity of the father of the child. This is very important because this is the fact that the child will have to grow up with. This also matters because the child will need support from the father, such as financial support. Usually, despite being unmarried, the father would assume that his rights to the child are guaranteed even at the face of separation from the child’s mother. Acknowledging Paternity Usually, the acknowledgment of paternity is done at the hospital, after the child’s birth. There is an Acknowledgement of Paternity document that both parents can sign before it is submitted to the government office. When the father signs the documents, all doubts about paternity is put to rest, and the father’s name is added to the birth certificate, usually. If the couple is not married, the father is informed of the rights and duties of a father before he signs the Acknowledgement of Paternity. Once he signs the document, only then can his name be added to the child’s birth certificate. The acknowledgment document is then submitted to the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Once they accept this document, the father’s name can be officially added to the birth certificate. Other Ways of Establishing Paternity Another way to establish paternity is through the Child Support Division of the Texas Attorney general. This happens when the mother doesn’t really know who the father of the child is, or if either of the two refuses to sign the […]

How to Establish Paternity in Texas


non custodial father
You recently got divorced. Your ex-partner has custody over your kids. Now, you’re living on your own or at least living apart from them. Does this sound familiar? If it does, chances are you might be worrying about how you can still be a father to your children. Well, as much as this is a rather scary thought, this really shouldn’t worry you so much. Just because you don’t have custody over your children doesn’t mean being a father to them is impossible.  There are still some things you can do to work around it. Keep in Touch The first thing you can do to help work around this situation would be to do your best to keep in touch with them. With the advent of technology, keeping in touch with people is relatively easy now. There is absolutely no excuse for you to not contact them. Whether it be through phone calls or video calls, messaging apps, or anything like that, checking in on your kids nowadays is practically one button-touch away. Check on them and ask them how they are, how their day was, what they’ve been up to, and the like. Let them know you still care and that you’re still there. Just because you’re not around physically doesn’t mean you still aren’t there for them at all. Just think of it as a long-distance relationship of sorts. Talk to Your Ex Just because you two are now divorced doesn’t mean you can be good co-parents with one another, especially if you two aren’t on bad terms. Work together with your ex to at least be great parents to your children. Working together helps make it less confusing for your kids when they still see that mom and dad, though they aren’t together anymore, are still working […]

How to Keep Your Role as a Father to Your Kids After Divorce When You Are a Non-Custodial Parent