When a married couple gets a divorce in the state of Texas, the parent who does not have primary custody of the children is almost always going to be granted visitation rights, and grandparents and other interested third parties may also have the right to visitation. Clearly, it is in the best interests of the child or children to have a strong ongoing relationship with both of their parents as well as with other family members, and most people recognize this and act accordingly. In Title 36, Chapter 6 of the Texas Code the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent are clearly spelled out, and the court is very clear about its intention to decide visitation based on what is best for the child or children involved.
Unmarried couples face a different set of circumstances, but when both of the parents agree to the paternity of the father, the same laws apply. Legally recognized paternity can be established in a number of different ways. The father can acknowledge his paternity in writing and file with the Department of Children’s Services registry, and he can also agree to have his name placed on the birth certificate as the child’s father. He can alternately be considered the father for legal purposes if he has taken the child into his home and performed all of the duties typically associated with parenthood. Paternity can also be proven through genetic testing, and paternity is legally established when the results indicate at least a 95% probability of the man in question’s parentage.
When you are involved in matters of child visitation, legitimation, and/or paternity, the main thing to keep in mind is the well being of the children. Paternity can be very clearly established through DNA testing, so there is no reason why the identity of the biological father should be brought into question. Once paternity has indeed been established, the father can enjoy all of the rights and accept all of the responsibilities that go along with parenthood. The court can decide on matters of paternity if necessary, but this is a matter that can usually be resolved via the mutual concurrence of the biological parents.
If you have questions about child visitation, legitimation or paternity issues, contact a Houston TX family lawyer to arrange for a free consultation.