single parent

Common Legal Problems Single Parents Face in Texas


Every parent, including single parents, work hard and do their best to protect their children and provide everything their children needs. It can be challenging at times for parents to achieve this, even when working together. You can only imagine how it can be for single parents. Most of the time, single parents face bigger challenges in their parenting. At times, these challenges can even come in the form of legal battles. Custody battles and child support are definitely a handful, and it can be such a headache when you’re facing it alone as a parent.

Here are the common legal problems that single parents usually face:


Establishing Parental Rights


The issue of parental rights can be such a challenge for single parents. Both parents are automatically awarded equal parental rights. That in itself is not a problem. However, it can be a real hassle if your child’s other parent does not see himself or herself as a full-time parent. If the other parent just wants to drop in and act as a parent when it’s convenient or whenever it pleases them, it can make things difficult for you and your child. This will potentially lead to disagreements between you and the other parent. It will also paint a turbulent image of the child’s environment. It’s especially challenging when the other parent drops in just to oppose your decisions that are actually in the child’s best interests.

When this happens, you can be entangled in a complicated legal battle against the other parent, with either one of you trying to discredit the other in order to terminate the other’s parental rights. If you succeed in terminating another’s parental rights, you might end up with a sole conservatorship right. If you establish more specific parental rights and duties in court, it can really regulate the parenting setup between you and the other parent.


Conservatorship Battles


When there’s bad blood between you and your child’s other parent, you might want to have sole conservatorship of the child. It’s not just for divorcees. Any single parent can wish to get the other parent out of the picture if the relationship between the two is not so great. You have to be aware though, that for unmarried parents, the single mother automatically has sole legal conservatorship of the child. Unmarried fathers can have legal rights to the child only when there is a court order regarding his established paternity rights. When an unmarried parent does not have legal rights to the child, it also means that the parent will have no visitation rights or parental duties. Of course, this can both be a good thing and a bad thing, depending on which way you look at it. It can be devastating for unmarried fathers who want to act as his child’s father properly. If the relationship with the child’s mother goes sour, the mother can completely cut off the father and child’s relationship. If you are an unmarried father who is being denied his child, you could be in another court battle to establish paternity before you can even face a legal battle regarding conservatorship of your child.


Child Support Issues


Child support can be one of the most complicated things a single parent can face. It can also turn into a legal warfare. There are cases where an ex of a single parent is given the chance to make child support payments based on good faith. Often, what happens is an automatic child support payment ordered by the court. This typically occurs when the parent does not pay what he or she is supposed to or is often late and inconsistent with the payments. The court can also implement such child support payment system if the paying parent disappears out of the blue, leaving the other single parent in dire financial conditions.

Unfortunately, even with a court order, you can never guarantee that the other parent will pay up what he or she is supposed to. Issues with the income of the child support payer can lead to the custodial parent not getting the full amount that is due to child support.


Problems with Decision-making

Co-parenting is rarely ever easy. Most of the time it can be very complicated, especially for parents who have the sole custody of the child. They have to do almost all of the things that most parents share, singlehandedly. This can turn into a legal problem since an absentee co-parent could still have full rights in making decisions for the child, as much as the single parent having physical custody of the child.


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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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