Lewisville Child Custody Lawyers
Preparing for a divorce can create legal challenges, emotional pain, and financial hardships. Deciding which parent the child should live with and other matters can be overwhelming. Alexander & Associates knows how much you want to meet your child’s needs without giving up your rights. You can depend on our legal team to work hard to try to resolve the matter favorably while focusing on what’s best for your child.
As the father, you will likely face an uphill battle trying to gain sole or joint custody of your kids. Many courts favor the mother when it comes to a dispute like this. However, you are afforded certain rights if you establish paternity, whether by marriage or legal guardianship.
The Lewisville paternity actions lawyers of Alexander & Associates are ready to help you seek legal action for the custody of your children. We can gather the necessary evidence to prove you are the father and try to reach an agreement with your spouse that works for everyone. The primary goal is to ensure your kids have a stable living environment during and after divorce proceedings.
Call Alexander & Associates at (972) 420-6560 today for a consultation to discuss your case and learn about the available options.
Factors Contributing to Paternity
You don’t necessarily have to marry the mother of your child to be considered the father and granted certain rights and responsibilities.
A father can fall under four main categories based on the circumstances:
- Alleged father – This means someone claims to be the father, but there is no legal recognition of this title. That means you must prove paternity through a signed legal document or other means.
- Presumed father – This results from a relationship with the mother but no legally or formally established paternity. You could pursue a case to prove you are the father and can seek custody of your kids.
- Acknowledged father – This involves a legal relationship with the child, whether by marriage, birth certificate, or legal guardianship.
- Adjudicated father – If a court intervened to establish paternity, an adjudicated father might have custody rights. However, the mother could challenge this determination.
Each category could influence a child custody case. Some create challenges in establishing paternity, while others provide clear-cut evidence of a father’s rights.
How to Establish Paternity in Texas
There are multiple ways you can prove you are the father of a child. You could take a paternity test. However, both parents have rights during this process, and the mother could argue against testing. If there’s any dispute regarding a paternity test, you could take the matter to court.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) can file a petition for the court to establish you as the biological father. You would then have to take a court-ordered paternity test for the OAG to review. If results confirm you are the father, both parties must complete and sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form.
One of the most common ways of establishing paternity is by signing the birth certificate. This can happen at any time after the birth of your son or daughter.
Typically, both parents sign the document after birth. You could add your name later but need to prove you are the legal father and send an application for a new birth certificate to the Texas Department of Health Services.
If you and the mother aren’t married, you can establish paternity by completing and signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity form. You must work together with an AOP-certified entity to complete this process. If the mother of your child is married to someone else, you must also complete the Denial of Paternity section to establish her spouse isn’t the legal father.
Types of Child Custody in Texas
Child custody falls into two main categories: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to where the child lives. The child with whom the child lives most of the time is the custodial parent. Legal custody refers to the ability to make decisions about the child’s life until they turn 18 years old.
A child living with the custodial parent can visit or live with the other parent based on a schedule agreed to by both parties. Multiple factors determine who gets custody of children, such as both parents’ financial standing, their type of relationship with the kids, and the child’s educational needs.
There are four types of custody arrangements in Texas.
Temporary Child Custody
This allows one parent to care for the kids during legal proceedings to determine legal or physical custody. If you believe your children should live with you until you and your spouse reach a custody agreement, you must file a petition with the court. The court will consider the kid’s best interests when granting temporary child custody.
The sole custodial parent has legal and physical custody over the children. That means the child can live with one parent primarily, and that parent can make decisions, such as:
- Healthcare needs
- Where the child will reside after resolving the legal proceedings
- Where the child will go to school
- Extracurricular activities for the child to participate in
Joint custody allows both parents to share parental responsibilities. The court might specify which responsibilities will fall on each parent’s shoulders. Additionally, one parent might obtain legal custody as long as it’s in the child’s best interest.
Two categories of joint custody exist:
- Joint legal custody – The child resides with one parent, but both parents can contribute to their upbringing.
- Shared physical custody – The child can live with both parents based on a specific schedule. However, this requires children to live with the non-custodial parent for at least 35% of the year.
You could also pursue a combination of shared physical custody and joint legal custody. It depends on the arrangements you and your spouse make. Every family is different. The decisions you reach should benefit your children and make sense based on the unique circumstances of your case.
If you share multiple children with the mother, you could decide to split custody with them. That means you would be responsible for one kid who lives with you, and the mother would take responsibility for another kid who lives with her.
The Lewisville child custody lawyers of Alexander & Associates understand the complexities of paternity actions. We can help you prepare for the legal road ahead and guide you throughout the entire process. You won’t have to face this difficult matter alone. We will remain by your side from start to finish and try to reach the goals you set for the custody of your children.
Call Alexander & Associates at (972) 420-6560 for a consultation today if you want to pursue a child custody case.