Undoubtedly, even a brief relationship between and man and a woman can become complicated. This is especially true if the woman becomes pregnant. Sometimes, when Texas men step up to take responsibility for children they believe are theirs, the women involved rebuff them. At this point, men may have to fight for their right to be fathers.
in 2013, model Michael Girgenti claimed he is the real father of Kourtney Kardashian’s then 2-year old son, Mason. Girgenti claims that he and Kardashian had an encounter after a photoshoot in 2009. He alleges this could make him the father of her child. Kardashian denies any such encounter ever took place. Interestingly, however, Kardashian and her longtime boyfriend, Scott Disick, had a paternity test done this past August; supposedly, the test concluded that the father of her son is Disick.
Despite this, Girgenti continues to assert his claims. He is asking that another DNA test be done by an independent laboratory since he believes the results of the first test were a fabrication. He is also asking for joint custody if testing proves that he is the boy’s father.
A lot of publicity is given to women that are seeking to establish paternity, but there are many men who try to do the same. So many Texas children do not have meaningful contact with their fathers for one reason or another. When a man is willing to take responsibility for a child despite the objections of the mother, he may obtain a court order to determine conclusively if he is the father or not and act from there.
The current state of fathers’ rights
The struggle that Texas fathers face to remain active and involved in the lives of their children is an issue that many people fail to acknowledge. That is, until it happens to them, at which point many become advocates for fathers’ rights. A review of various shifts in the way that the law supports a father’s role in a child custody agreement reveals that the true state of fathers’ rights may not be as dire as many believe.
One example lies in the changes related to how custody is awarded. One study looked at custody cases between 1996 and 2007, and found that mothers receiving sole custody dropped by nearly 15 percent over that span of time. In addition, joint or shared custody cases doubled in the same timeframe, reaching 30.5 percent of cases that went before the state’s courts.
Some states are moving toward child custody legislation that urges courts to create a child custody structure that maximizes the ability of both mothers and fathers to remain active in their child’s life. Other research demonstrates that more and more women are paying child support and alimony than in years past. These and related statistics suggest that the landscape of fathers’ rights is changing, and is slowly adjusting to reflect the current social norms regarding a father’s role in the life of his child.
What is also clear is that the ability to gain a favorable child custody outcome depends largely on the ability of the father to secure solid legal representation. Across the board, fathers in Texas and elsewhere who have the ability to fight for their rights in court have a better chance at success. This appears to be true regardless of whether they are fighting to spend more time with their children or have their child support obligations reduced.
Court establishes paternity in sperm donor case
Becoming a parent is one of life’s greatest achievements. It is a life event that many in Texas plan for over a long period of time, and many structures their adult lives around raising a family. However, there are methods of becoming a parent that vary from what is considered to be the norm in American culture, and people who choose those paths are also entitled to parental rights. In fact, in certain cases such as adoption, surrogacy and egg, and sperm donation, those who create or sustain life also have the right to waive their parental rights. One landmark paternity and child support case is challenging those rights, and sparking debate across the nation.
The case centers on a man who answered an online ad seeking a sperm donor. A lesbian couple had placed the ad hoping to find a suitable donor to assist them in creating a family. They found just such a donor, and a child was conceived by means of artificial insemination. All went well for a period of time until the family fell into a period of hardship.
The state stepped in to assist, providing as much as $6,000 in assistance to the family. However, state guidelines require that both parents of a child be identified, to ensure that support is being received from both parents. In this case, the sperm donor’s name was provided to state officials, who then proceeded to begin legal proceedings to hold him accountable for supporting the child.
A court recently ruled that because the parties did not employ a physician to conduct the artificial insemination, the man could not be considered a sperm donor under state law. The court established paternity, even though the donor and biological mother did not ever intend for him to take that role. He will now be held responsible for the $6,000 paid to the family through state aid, as well as future child support payments. This case should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone in Texas or across the nation who is considering giving the gift of sperm or egg donation, and underscore the need to do so fully within the letter of state law.
Do fathers have the right to be present during birth?
When a child is born, both mother and father assume a set of rights and responsibilities. These matters can be complex, especially when the parents decide to go their separate ways. Family courts in Texas and across the nation struggle with balancing the rights of mothers and fathers against the best interests of the children involved and family law continues to evolve as our social norms and values shift.
A recent court case has raised an interesting question in the field of fathers’ rights. The case focused on the insistence of a father to be present during the birth of his child. For reasons unknown, the parents were estranged as the due date approached, and the father filed suit to ask the court to compel the mother to allow his presence during the birthing process.
The court refused, citing several well-known reproductive rights cases as legal backing for the decision. In essence, the court determined that any parental rights that a father holds are secondary to the interests of the mother, at least until the point that the woman gives birth. From that time forward, parents hold rights that are equal, and a court will determine custody arrangements that suit the best interests of the child.
This case has sparked a great deal of debate in Texas among those who support the rights of fathers to play a vital and active role in the lives of their children. However, the ruling should not be viewed as a loss in regard to fathers’ rights, as it has no bearing on custody or visitation rights once a child is born. It appears that the court was simply acknowledging that during labor and delivery, the well-being of the fetus is inextricably tied to that of the mother and that a woman should be allowed to go through this process in the manner of her choosing.