What Rights do Unmarried Parents Have in Texas?

Unmarried Fathers' Rights & Texas Custody Laws

Son and father laughing with son on father's back - representing paternity

Married Couples' Rights 

While divorce can be complicated, sometimes it makes determining child custodychild support, and visitation a little easier. When a married heterosexual couple has a child, the law in Texas makes the assumption that the man in the marriage is the biological father (Texas Family Code § 160.204).

Unmarried Fathers' and Mothers' Rights 

An unmarried couple must sign an acknowledgment of paternity with the intent to establish the man’s paternity (Texas Family Code § 160.301).

If a couple isn’t married, a father has no legal rights to his child, and a mother has no legal rights to child support. If a mother or father refuses to acknowledge paternity, then either one must ask the court to intervene on their behalf for child custody or support purposes.

An unmarried woman will always be presumed to be the natural custodian of the child because her maternity was established at birth. 

Either parent can file a motion to establish paternity with the court involuntarily. The court will most likely order a DNA test on all involved to determine whether the man is the biological father of the child. Once paternity order is established, the Judge will most likely order the child’s birth certificate will be updated, and child custody, child support, and visitation can be decided by the Court.

Need Legal Help as an Unmarried Parent in Texas? 

If you’re interested in establishing paternity, let us help. Our skilled Flower Mound family law attorney has more than 15 years of legal experience to offer your case. Attorney Herr is a trial-experienced lawyer who is fully prepared to protect your rights in negotiations and in court. Let us see what we can do for you and your family.

Contact us at (469) 314-9216 or fill out our online form to schedule a case consultation today.