Visitation Rights for Unmarried Fathers
Texas courts will generally grant visitation rights based on what is in the best interests of the children. There is a presumption that contact with both parents is beneficial unless a compelling reason exists to suggest otherwise. However, the matter becomes a bit more complex when the parents are unmarried. A child custody attorney in College Station can help if you are having difficulty with establishing visitation.
Rights and Responsibilities of Fathers
When parents are unmarried Texas courts tend to grant physical custody to the mother. However, this does not eliminate the rights or responsibilities of the fathers regarding visitation and child support. The father possesses the same rights as the mother, but in addition may be required to pay support. Keep in mind that if an unwed father tries to avoid this responsibility by claiming he is not the father, he may thereby diminish any claim to visitation.
An issue that often arises with unwed parents is the matter of paternity. Your child custody attorney in College Station can help you establish that you are, indeed, the father, but unless the mother challenges the paternity of the father a signed statement will suffice. Otherwise, the father may have to submit to a paternity test.
Determining the Visitation Schedule
Once paternity has been established the court will grant the father visitation unless to do so would jeopardize the safety of the children. This will be an issue if the father has a history of spousal or child abuse, or has been convicted of a sex crime. Even in such circumstances, however, the court might grant limited, supervised visitation.
If the children are old enough, they will almost certainly be asked what their visitation preferences are. The court will also strongly consider any visitation schedule the parents are able to mutually agree upon. In fact, this is preferred, for it saves time and trouble for the courts. That said, visitation schedules will take into account the child's schooling and extracurricular activities, and also the distance between where the parents live. If the parents live close to one another frequent visitation will be granted. If there is a considerable distance between parents, the courts will grant visitation during times out of school, such as summer and winter breaks.
For Assistance with Visitation Issues
If you need help with visitation of some other child custody or support matter, call a child custody attorney in College Station who understands the nuances of the law and will fight for you. Call Peterson Law Group at 979-703-7014.