If you are an unwed father going through a break-up with your child's mother, you may face an uphill battle for custody rights here in Texas.
While some states are becoming more equitable in matters of the custody of minor children born to unmarried parents, mothers have traditionally had the home court advantage here. However, research indicates that ongoing paternal involvement can produce more mentally stable academic achievers in the children, as well as generate more in the form of child support payments.
Studies of those parents who live in states where "access and visitation" programs flourish indicate that noncustodial parents pay support more willingly when they are able to spend more time with their offspring. In order for an unmarried dad to have the same decision-making and custodial rights as the unwed mom, he first must formally acknowledge paternity of the child and establish parenting rights.
Fathers' rights advocates lobby for proposals to make the system fair to both parents instead of favoring the mothers. Some studies suggest that when parents split custody equally, the levels of conflict between the moms and dads declines, which allows kids to form strong bonds with both parents.
Here in Texas, a parenting time order is automatically issued whenever parents or couples apply for child support. The order is generated through the attorney general's office and divides parenting time. However, parents are allowed to deviate from the order as long as they agree on the different schedule, one former Texas deputy attorney general over child support stated.
If you are struggling to have more parenting time with your child born out of wedlock, retaining a Texas family law attorney to advocate for you can be very helpful.
Source: Huffington Post, "Involving Dads In Lives Of Children Born Out Of Wedlock," Sep. 29, 2016