When a father wants to establish conservatorship, he has the right to file a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship or a Suit to Establish the Parent-Child Relationship. The suit will ask the court to decide issues of parentage, conservatorship, visitation, and child support. A suit for child support may be filed with the attorney general’s office pursuant to either a request by one of the parents or the state if a parent is receiving state benefits such as welfare or Medicaid. The attorney general will represent the state’s interest for parents to collect child support.
As a result, the attorney general represents the state, not either parent in the suit. When establishing the child support order, the attorney general will typically address the issues of conservatorship and visitation. You should seek legal counsel to discuss your legal options as soon as you are served with any papers from the attorney general, as failure to respond quickly can affect how the case is handled.
If you are married and will be seeking custody during your divorce, then you need to know your rights as a father. It is important to know that if there are no existing orders in place when each parent has equal rights to the child. This means that if one parent wants to move out of the family home and take the child, he or she has the right to do so. Without a court order the police usually have no recourse to get involved in the matter.
If you are not married but have a child, then the father must legally prove that he is the father in order to establish parental rights under Texas law. One way to establish parental rights without the necessity of the court is for the father and mother to sign an acknowledgment of paternity and file it with the paternity registry in the Bureau of Vital Statistics. In addition, the father should register acknowledgment as the father before the birth of the child or no later than 31 days after the child is born. If the mother and father did not sign an acknowledgment then, the father should file a lawsuit to establish that he is the father of the child.
If the mother is married to another man, then that man will be the presumed father to any child born during the marriage. This means that the husband has all the rights and duties to the child, and the man who thinks he is the father has none. The man who thinks he is the father still has a duty to register with the paternity registry. The man who believes he is the child’s father has up until the time the child is 4 years old to file a lawsuit objecting that the husband is the father to the child.