Have any of you read a newspaper article, blog post, or heard on the news about a father or manhood crisis in this country? One of the significant issues that we suffer from in our culture is that often men feel unbalanced, unwanted, or simply not an essential part of family raising. Some of this can be attributed to men ourselves not taking responsibility for our actions and not being as involved in raising families. However, I also think that there is some degree of discouragement that our society presents to men in terms of showing how important they are when raising a family.
During those problems, we have another problem in many households. The problem is being divorced. It is no secret and should come as no surprise that more people are getting divorced in our country these days than ever before. We can sit here and try to explain why this may be all day long. A few different reasons have been significant throughout the past few years. Those reasons include money stress and money problems, the pandemic, and a long list of reasons related to ships and changes in the economy and culture. These reasons have led to an increase in divorce. Even as we see the total number of divorces decreasing over time, the main reason for that is fewer people getting married in the first place.
If you believe, as I do, that strong marriages are the foundation for our culture and our country, then this should not be welcome news whatsoever. While families have certainly been changing throughout the past generation or two, that does not mean marriage still does not fulfill an essential part of the responsibility we have as adults for raising children. When we talk about changing attitudes and views towards marriage, there must be a discussion about men’s and fathers’ roles in the family. While today’s blog post is not necessarily intended to act as a discussion on this subject, I do think it bears mentioning. I want to acknowledge the importance that men play in the family before going any further in today’s blog.
With that said, in today’s blog posts from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, I would like to share with you my thoughts on ten things every father should know about his rights. This could be both in the context of a divorce, child custody case, or even in a situation where you are unclear about your legal rights about your child. Indeed, if you have concerns over whether you will even have custody rights about a child, then today’s blog post will be critical to you. Specifically, we will walk you through 10 issues to dads and are essential for you to be aware of as you take on the responsibilities of fatherhood, whether you are involved in a family law case or not.
Another thing that I think is important to mention here is that you may have seen advertisements for law firms that cater specifically to men and fathers. These offices tout themselves as experts in fathers’ rights or men’s rights. I will not begrudge any business from being able to market themselves in a way that is ethical and accurate. However, I would note that a bottom line for child custody or even family law cases without divorce is that men and fathers have the same rights under the law as women and mothers. As a result, before you concern yourself with fathers’ rights, you need to become knowledgeable about parental rights about children. This is important because there is no distinction under the law between men and women when sharing rights and duties about children.
You have no legal right or duties and association with your children until you are legally declared their father.
What I mean by this is that you should not put the cart before the horse in terms of parental rights. There is no legal presumption. I’ve put Trinity for you about a child unless you are married to the child’s mother when the child is born or unless that child is born within 300 days of your divorcing the mother. In all their circumstances, you will need to acknowledge paternity along with the mother. By acknowledging paternity, you can legally assert that you are the child’s father and take on rights and duties in that regard.
The way that you would do this in most cases is by completing an acknowledgment of paternity. This form can be obtained through the state of Texas and often is given out by hospitals once your child is born. By signing the acknowledgment of fraternity, you are saying, hey, court, that you are the father biologically Speaking of that child.
Assuming that the mother also is willing to sign the form, you would be able to be legally declared as that child father and have the right to make decisions for them as well as have duties about raising the child period until then; you cannot legally make decisions or hold duties about them. Of course, this does not stop you from making decisions or having rights on a day-to-day level.
However, if something goes wrong for your child’s life, the child’s mother can cause problems for you regarding your abilities moving forward to play a role in your child’s life. Therefore, it is essential for you to have the state of Texas in a family court judge acknowledged that you are the father of the child in question. Until you take care of this step everything else, we’ve talked about today doesn’t matter. If you need guidance on moving forward in this regard, please reach out to the attorneys with our office. We can walk you through the process of petitioning the court to establish paternity or completing an acknowledgment of paternity form.
There is more to parental rights than paying child support.
Many fathers hesitate to become involved in a child custody case involving their son or daughter due to concerns over what it means for child support purposes. I see this mainly occur in situations where you as a father are not married to your child’s mother. You may have been paying some degree of child support since the birth of your child but have not been put on formal court orders for child support. Due to an uncertain job situation, this may have been your preference. As a result, you may have looked at the situation from the perspective of it being better for you not to have child support obligations, even if that means losing out on the portents time with your child.
I am here to tell you that not only can you have child support ordered by a family court judge, but you can also have established within you conservative rights, possession time, and a parenting schedule that gives you some degree of Peace of Mind when it comes to being able to see in spend time with your children. Do not avoid this type of case because you are concerned about what it means that you had to pay child support. This is especially true if you are not aware of your obligation to pay child support. I have worked with many fathers who hesitated to establish paternity rights or even possession time with their kids out of concern that they would be asked to pay an excessive amount of child support.
You have equal rights to your children compared to their mother.
One of the shocking things that I’ve learned in my years as an attorney is that many, if not most, fathers believe that there is something in the law that gives preference to mothers when it comes to conservatorships, custody, and child support. It may just be the way our society works or how mothers typically take on a more significant role in the day-to-day care of their children. Fathers tend to believe that mothers have a legal preference to be named the children’s primary conservator. The reality does not match up with this assumption.
I recommend to fathers that they not back down if they have always played a significant role in the life of their children. If you believe that your children are better suited with you as their primary conservator, then this is absolutely a role you can take on after a divorce or child custody case. At the same time, it is not necessarily a good idea to assert that you could become the child’s primary conservator if only to avoid child support. Judges and, most importantly, your child’s mother can usually sniff out situations like that easily.
It is best to have an attorney during a family law case.
From my experience, it seems that men more often than women believe that they can represent themselves adequately in a child custody or divorce circumstance. I won’t offer my opinion as to why I think this is, but I am merely telling you that I see men much more often than women try to do this. I think it is a mistake and can harm you both in the short and long term.
You must ask yourself if you would feel comfortable pulling your teeth or performing your surgery. Do you even change your oil? I know I don’t. With that in mind, why would you put your relationship with your children in jeopardy by trying to represent yourself? You need to be aware of so many things during a family law case that you, as a teacher, engineer, electrician, businessperson, or any other career field for that matter, would not know. You will not have enough time to learn during a family law case, and the consequences for making mistakes can be dire. If possible, research different attorneys and then hire one you feel comfortable with.
The advantage to filing first for divorce
My experience is that women tend to file for divorce more frequently than men. There is no legal advantage to filing for divorce rather than responding to a divorce. However, there are to call and time components to this question that can be seen as advantages for the person who files for divorce. As the old saying goes: the early bird gets the worm. As a result, you should be aware of what advantages there are for you when filing for divorce first period.
Not only do you position yourself to be able to choose the venue of your case, but you also have an advantage when it comes to planning out your divorce in advance. By considering the goals of your case and moving forward to Ultimately file for divorce, you can establish your goals and a plan to achieve those goals with your attorney. The disadvantage of filing for divorce is that you can often be caught off guard and flat-footed. This makes responding to the case that much more difficult. Ultimately this is an advantage that will not necessarily last all that long for you in your case. However, it can make a difference in the initial stages.
Do not simply move out of the home and do nothing after that.
One of the things that I see men do with greater regularity, especially married men who do not have children, is to move out of the family home and do nothing after that. Men will stay married to a woman that they do not live with for many years and think that the details will take care of themselves. Since Texas is a community property state, your spouse could be taking out debt or doing other things in your name that you have no idea about. Protect yourself by filing for divorce if you plan on moving out.
Be aware of your actions once the divorce is filed.
A divorce turns marriage into a business transaction. It would help not treat your spouse after the divorce is filed as anything but a business partner. You need to respect the terms of any temporary orders that you have agreed to and should not, for example, come unannounced to your spouse’s home. You have your space, and she has hers. If you respect these boundaries, you will be well served for the remainder of your divorce. You can also avoid allegations of wrongdoing by simply keeping to yourself and focusing on the goals of your case and not your spouse.
Wait to date
Men and women alike will sometimes treat the beginning of a divorce as the beginning of a new period to engage in dating. I cannot emphasize to you enough how this can be disastrous for you and your case. Not only does it potentially create problems from a relational standpoint for you and your new partner, but it can harm your relationship with your kids and even your ability to parent them after the divorce. If you have begun to date someone before your divorce is over with, absolutely do not expose your children to that person and do not spend marital resources on them. This can change the face of your case in a big way and not for the better.
Keep calm and carry on.
These are the last two pieces of advice that I have for fathers and men going through a divorce. Remember that the essential thing in your divorce is your children. You may find that your spouse is trying to engage in unbecoming behavior of her, which frankly is bothersome to you. Many fathers allow the behavior of their wives in relatively trivial ways 2 frustrate them to the point of harming their case. It would help if you did not allow your spouse’s behavior on trivial matters to get the best of you. Instead, focus on your children and their role as the essential part of your case. After that, the details of nonimportant things like your spouse’s actions will fall into place and tend not to bother you as much.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations can be an excellent way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.