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How do you establish paternity in Texas?

If you are a Texas man whose child was born when you were not married to his or her mother, you and your child do not have the same legal rights as children born to married parents. The Office of the Texas Attorney General explains that a child born in Texas to unmarried parents does not legally have a father. While you may be the biological father, you have no legal right to your child unless and until you establish paternity.

You can establish paternity in Texas by one of the following three ways:

  1. Acknowledgment of Paternity signed by you and your child’s mother
  2. Agreed paternity order signed by you, your child’s mother and a judge
  3. Court-ordered paternity order signed by a judge

Paternity leave not accessible for all men

Many fathers in Texas look forward to bonding with their infant in the first days and weeks of their child's life. FindLaw says that while many men want to be at home with their families after a child's birth, many do not take much time off.

While some people may think that every father can take time off to be with his family, this is not always the case. Fathers must qualify for paternity leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Men typically must work in a public school or for either the federal and state government to qualify for this time off, and they usually receive 12 weeks off at most. 

What does your child need for an enriched life?

Texan parents like you will have to ask yourselves this exact question when heading into a divorce. Child support payments are a way for both parents to continue having a hand in raising their child even after splitting up, and in many cases, these payments are necessary to the child's overall quality of life.

Findlaw immediately busts the myth that child support payments are only meant to cover the most basic necessities a child requires in their life, like food or clothing. While those things are certainly important and can be quite costly, child support is meant to do more than simply ensure a child survives. It's supposed to ensure that your child is thriving too, even if you and your ex-spouse have gone your separate ways.

What hurdles do divorcing same sex couples face?

It's undeniable that Texan same-sex couples like you and your partner will have more legal issues to work through when getting a divorce. Even though Supreme Court ruling determined that same-sex marriage is legal, that still leaves the years before 2015 in a strange legal gray area.

NBC News reported several stories of divorcing couples who faced legal struggles during their divorce for various reasons. For example, couples who were not legally married before the 2015 ruling may have adopted children during the years before marriage. Because of that, only one of you may have been allowed to legally adopt the child. This means only that sole person would legally be the child's parent. What about the other? Despite spending years acting as a parent to the child, there may be no legal footing to argue for custody or visitation. It's a frightening prospect to many.

Should I modify my child custody arrangement?

When divorced parents in Texas decide that your current child custody arrangement does not suit your evolving needs, the Law Offices of Keith E. Holloway can step in to help guide you to a new arrangement that benefits all parties equally, or as close to equal as possible.

There are many different valid reasons for a custody arrangement to be modified. Usually, the top reasons involve changes in you or your spouse's financial situations. Scenarios of financial changes can include one of you losing a job, taking a pay cut, or becoming injured and needing to take extensive time off of work. These changes are negative and can make it harder for you to provide for your child.

Do I have to pay child support if I lose my job?

If you have filed for a divorce in Texas, you likely have many questions. One of the most confusing topics for most divorcing parents is child support and all the rules that govern this program. Many wonder whether they will still be required to make payments if they lose their job and become incapable of providing financial support for their children. The Texas Attorney General has answered this question as well as many others on the topic of child custody.

According to the government website, you may have to provide proof that you are actively searching for a new position if you report that you have lost your job. You may also be required to participate in one of the employment training programs that are offered by the Texas Workforce Commission.

How a military divorce can affect child custody

While dividing the care of children can be one of the most difficult aspects of a divorce in Texas, the situation can become even more complex when one spouse is involved in the military. We at the Law Offices of Keith E. Holloway have experience handling even the toughest military divorce cases and can guide you through this process and ensure that your rights are represented.

According to Military.com, the rulings given by court judges are swaying toward giving more custody to the parent who is not likely to be deployed at any time. Some people report that even those enlisted in the National Guard and only required to serve periodically for short amounts of time are being bypassed in favor of the non-enlisted parent.

What property is exempt from community property law?

Texas is a community property state, which can make things tough on Texan residents like you who want to get a divorce. At the Law Offices of Keith E. Holloway, we work to provide you with information regarding all of the possible exemptions to this law that you may have, which can help you protect your personal property from being given away to your ex-spouse.

Community property law means that every piece of property you own in your marriage will be divided up equally between you and your spouse. This can be difficult to handle, especially because it means you may lose some things that you bought for yourself, or items that you favor or have personal attachments to. Fortunately, there are some exceptions to the community property law that can save sentimental objects and more.

Bitter divorce can impact children's health in adulthood

In Texas and across the country, divorce is often portrayed as a fierce battle between two sides. Yet many couples with children are now trying to change the face of divorce to be less adversarial and more peaceful.

According to USA Today, many divorced couples are working against the stereotype of ex-spouses not being able to be in the same room. By working through the feelings of hurt that a divorce brought on, many of these parents have been able to have cordial relationships that help to support their children. This may mean speaking frequently on the phone or celebrating the holidays together, even with new spouses, as one big family. Sometimes an ex-spouse moves into the same neighborhood so the kids are never too far away. This is not possible when violence or abuse was present in the marriage, but for couples who broke up and are able to move past the feelings of anger, it can benefit the children in the long run.

What rights do fathers have in an unplanned pregnancy?

Relationships can be complicated, even in the best of circumstances. When an unplanned pregnancy occurs, the issues can become even more difficult and complex. If you are the father of an unexpected child in Texas, you may be wondering what your rights are and what your next steps should be.

According to the Texas Attorney General, one of the first steps you will need to take is to establish paternity. If your child's mother is willing, you can both sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity and file it with the Texas Vital Statistics Unit. Both parents must sign the acknowledgement in order for it to be valid.

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