Fort Worth Fathers Rights Attorneys Shatters Myths
Until relatively recently, parental roles were fairly rigidly set, both by society and by the law. Fathers were supposed to support the family while mothers stayed home and raised the children. If the parents of a minor child divorced, issues such as custody, visitation, and child support were all but pre-determined. Over the last several decades, however, both societal views and the law have undergone considerable changes with regard to parental roles, both during and after marriage. As the number of children born to unmarried parents has skyrocketed, a corresponding change has slowly occurred in the way society and law view unwed mothers as well as the rights of fathers to a child born out of wedlock. To give you an idea of how much has changed, the Fort Worth fathers' rights attorneys at Boyd Family Law shatter some of the most common myths and misconceptions.
The mother always gets custody. Once upon a time, it was presumed by both society and the law that a mother would get custody of any minor children in a divorce unless the mother was proven to be unfit. Today, more and more fathers are seeking primary or joint custody, referred to as “conservatorship” in Texas, of minor children in a divorce. Society now largely accepts that fathers not only can raise children but actually want to do so. The law in the State of Texas is very clear on the subject. Texas Family Code Section 153.003 governs the issue, stating as follows:
“The court shall consider the qualifications of the parties without regard to their marital status or to the sex of the party or the child in determining:
which party to appoint as sole managing conservator;
whether to appoint a party as joint managing conservator; and
the terms and conditions of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.
There is nothing I can do to lower my child support payments. Often, when a parent who is under an order to pay child support runs into financial problems he/she simply stops paying the support under the mistaken belief that nothing can be done to lower the amount. Doing that is a sure-fire way to end up on the court’s bad side. If there is a legitimate reason why you can no longer afford the court-ordered obligation, pay what you can and consult with an attorney about a modification.
The Managing Conservator gets to make all important decisions. Decision-making authority with regard to important decisions is typically shared between parents unless one parent has no conservatorship rights at all.
It’s o.k. to prevent the father from seeing the kids if he doesn’t pay his child support. This is a common belief of mothers, and more recently fathers who are conservators and receiving child support. The law has always been very clear on this issue – child support and possession and access (visitation/parenting time) are not Texas Family Code Section 153.001(b) states “A court may not render an order that conditions the right of a conservator to possession of or access to a child on the payment of child support.” A parent’s court-ordered child support obligation must be considered separately from that parent’s right to access the child. Just as a parent can face contempt of court for failing to pay child support, so can a parent face the same allegation for refusing to honor the court-ordered possession and access schedule.
My name is on the birth certificate so I’m legally the father. Although this is a common belief, it is not accurate. A child’s mother putting your name down as the father on a child’s birth certificate does not legally establish paternity. You can, however, establish paternity easily at the time the child is born by signing a document known as an “Acknowledgment of Paternity” which is usually available at the hospital.
We were never married so I don’t have any rights to the child. When a child is born to unwed parents, the conservatorship of the child automatically rests with the mother. Until paternity is legally established, it is true that the father has no legal rights or responsibilities to the child.
Contact Fort Worth Fathers Rights Attorneys
If you have additional questions or concerns about any of these, or other, myths relating to the rights and responsibilities, contact the experienced Fort Worth fathers' rights attorneys at Boyd Family Law to schedule your appointment today.