In the realm of family law, understanding your rights as a non-custodial parent is a fundamental aspect of ensuring your child’s well-being and maintaining your role as a loving parent. For those residing in Brazoria and Galveston County, navigating the intricate legal landscape can be a daunting task.
In this informative conversation, we sit down with Ben Beveridge, a dedicated family law attorney, to shed light on the complexities of non-custodial parent rights in Texas. With over a decade of experience and a personal commitment to this cause, Ben Beveridge shares his insights, knowledge, and passion for advocating parental equality. Let’s explore the key aspects of non-custodial parent rights and how you can secure your place in your child’s life, ensuring a brighter future for your family.
For guidance, contact us at 281-407-0961 or visit our website.
At Beveridge Law Firm, PLLC, we recognize the concerns and questions that often burden non-custodial parents, especially fathers, in Brazoria and Galveston County. Your journey as a parent is invaluable, and it’s essential to understand your rights within the family law framework. This article delves into the intricacies of non-custodial parent rights, providing insights without duplicating existing content.
About the Author: Our founder, Ben Beveridge, embarked on his legal career following a personal custody battle. In a testament to his dedication, he secured equal access to his children within three months of passing the bar exam. He is a passionate advocate for laws that ensure children have equal access to both parents, even having drafted relevant bills and pushing for their enactment.
Q: Non-Custodial Parent: I’ve heard about non-custodial parent rights in Texas, but could you explain how they work? I’m living in Brazoria and Galveston County, and it seems like such a complex topic.
A: Ben Beveridge, Family Law Attorney: Of course, I’d be happy to guide you through non-custodial parent rights. Your rights are crucial, and navigating them effectively can make a world of difference. In Texas, fathers have various ways to establish their rights as a non-custodial parent.
Q: Non-Custodial Parent: That’s great to hear, Ben. Could you clarify these ways to establish paternity as a father?
A: Ben Beveridge, Family Law Attorney: Certainly. The Texas Family Code provides several avenues to establish paternity, ensuring that a father has a legally recognized role in their child’s life. These routes are laid out clearly in the law. Specifically, there’s a presumption of paternity, which can occur in various scenarios.
Q: Non-Custodial Parent: How does this presumption of paternity work?
A: Ben Beveridge, Family Law Attorney: The presumption of paternity operates when certain conditions are met. For instance, if a child is born during a marriage or within 301 days of ending that marriage, paternity is presumed. The same applies if a child is born out of wedlock, but the father voluntarily asserts his paternity and records it with the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics or is named as the father on the birth certificate. Even a written promise to undertake the child’s responsibilities can establish this presumption.
Q: Non-Custodial Parent: That makes sense. What about when paternity is not presumed?
A: Ben Beveridge, Family Law Attorney: When paternity is not presumed, non-custodial parents may need to take additional steps, such as a paternity test or executing an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form signed by both parents.
Q: Non-Custodial Parent: Thanks for explaining that. What are the non-custodial parent’s rights regarding visitation and custody?
A: Ben Beveridge, Family Law Attorney: Non-custodial parents, whether fathers or mothers, have rights to visitation and custody. In Texas, visitation is often referred to as conservatorship. Parents can secure primary custody, negotiate parenting time, determine the child’s residence, or share conservatorship. It’s crucial to understand these legal rights to optimize your visitation and custody.
Q: Non-Custodial Parent: Are these rights different from what they used to be? I heard that it was typically assumed that the mother would get sole custody.
A: Ben Beveridge, Family Law Attorney: You’re right; traditional assumptions have evolved. It’s no longer uncommon for a father to be the sole conservator. Family dynamics have shifted, and the law has adapted accordingly. Our goal is to keep you informed about these rights and help you navigate the process effectively.
Q: Non-Custodial Parent: How does the Texas Attorney General view visitation for non-custodial parents?
A: Ben Beveridge, Family Law Attorney: The Texas Attorney General provides visitation guidelines for both non-custodial parents living within 100 miles of the custodial parent and those residing farther away. These guidelines lay the groundwork for visitation arrangements. However, it’s crucial to understand your specific rights in this context.
Q: Non-Custodial Parent: Could you give me an idea of what these visitation guidelines are?
A: Ben Beveridge, Family Law Attorney: Certainly. For non-custodial parents living within 100 miles, the guidelines typically include visitation on the first, third, and fifth weekends of each month, Thursday evenings, 30 days during summer school breaks, and alternating holidays.
For those living more than 100 miles away, the guidelines include spring breaks, 42 days (6 weeks) during summer vacations, alternating holidays, and one weekend each month. It’s also possible to retain the first, third, and fifth weekends if both parents agree.
Q: Non-Custodial Parent: I appreciate that clarification. What criteria do Texas courts consider when deciding custody and visitation?
A: Ben Beveridge, Family Law Attorney: Texas courts prioritize the best interests of the child when making these decisions. Factors considered include the child’s desires, parenting abilities of both parents, the child’s physical and emotional needs, the family’s living environment, available programs to benefit the child, potential risks to the child, and more.
Q: Non-Custodial Parent: How can an unwed father establish paternity in Texas?
A: Ben Beveridge, Family Law Attorney: Unwed fathers have two primary methods to establish paternity. They can sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form or undergo court-ordered paternity testing based on DNA evidence. The DNA test is a straightforward process, usually taking 4 to 6 weeks for results. Once paternity is confirmed through this test, courts can issue relevant orders concerning child support, custody, and other pertinent matters.
Q: Non-Custodial Parent: Thanks for walking me through these details. How can I reach out to you for legal assistance in Brazoria and Galveston County?
A: Ben Beveridge, Family Law Attorney: You can reach us at 281-407-0961 or visit our website at www.beveridgelawfirm.com. We’re committed to helping non-custodial parents navigate the complexities of family law and ensure their rights are protected. Don’t hesitate to get in touch; we’re here to assist you.