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Rights of unmarried fathers in Texas

Compared with mothers, historically fathers' rights in case of child custody has been downplayed. The situation is worsened when the child is born out of wedlock. Unmarried fathers seeking custody of their biological children have to go through a longer process and a plethora of documents.

In the past, biological mothers who wanted to put the child up for adoption would try to extinguish all of the father's parental rights. Fathers' rights advocates have challenged these attempts for decades. Finally, courts have begun to recognize the parental rights of the father in raising his biological child.

While establishing paternity in case of married parents is relatively simple, an unmarried father may need to go through a legal battle to establish his paternity in order to be eligible to raise his own biological child. Many find it helpful to get legal professional help in such cases.

Establishing paternity may become a long procedure. In most states, including Texas, a man is considered the biological father if the parents were married during the birth of child. If the child was born within 300 days past the estrangement of the spouses, the father must establish his paternity. The rule applies even to those couples who had previously tried to marry each other but the marriage itself was voided due to legal defects.

With current technologies, determining paternity of a child is relatively easy. Under Texas law, any DNA or genetic test conducted to establish paternity may be recognized by the court of law. Fathers now have a greater right in their biological children's lives. The process, however, may take some time.

Source: ChildWelfare.gov, "The rights of unmarried fathers,"Accessed on Nov. 27 2014

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