Becoming a father is one of life’s greatest treasures. Being able to take part in the raising of a child into an adult changes the person for the better. As a father of four little ones myself, I can attest to the degree to which people change their priorities and begin to put the life of another person before their own. Fatherhood comes with its challenges but the reality is that those challenges are almost always outdone by the benefits and moments that come with raising children. 

Among those challenges is his Co-parenting. When I talk about Co-parenting I am referencing the responsibility of raising a child together with the child’s other parent. Much of the time being able to coordinate your efforts in raising a child with Another person can be among the most difficult parts of being a parent. Imagine a situation where you are having to consider the opinions and thoughts of another person regarding the subject that is most important in the world to you. It is only normal to see some degree of disagreement that requires coordination and communication.

Communication is key to co-parenting

Of all the necessary skills that a person needs to possess when it comes to Co-parenting, I think that communication is probably foremost among them. Being able to communicate effectively in any relationship is incredibly important. Constructively sharing your thoughts and also being willing and able to listen effectively are the hallmarks of communication. Many times we communicate verbally with our words and also nonverbally with our mannerisms, body language, and even facial expressions.

Most of the time communication in our daily lives covers circumstances that are not all that emotional or frankly important to us. Ordering food at a restaurant, interacting with the cashier at a grocery store, and saying hello to coworkers during the day, are all typical In daily interactions that we don’t think much about. Therefore, we are more prone to interacting cordially but do not invest too much into the Interaction itself. We can say hello and goodbye and then go about our business. Likely, we will never see that person again for the rest of our lives. There is much less pressure and much less at stake in these types of interactions.

On the other hand, when it comes to daily interactions probably the most strenuous and emotional are those related to our children and our Co-parent. Whether you are married or single these interactions can be difficult to manage even for the most skilled communicators among us. To be a good communicator does not mean that you have to be great at giving speeches or having a commanding presence. Rather, being an effective communicator means being patient, willing to put yourself in another person’s shoes, and then able to listen as much as you talk. Consider the point of view of another person and you will be better off in this regard.

Co-parenting in any circumstance is difficult. I can tell you from personal experience that my wife and I agree on both but not all subjects when it comes to the well-being of our children. These are not necessarily knock-down-drag-out disagreements but they are disagreements nonetheless. When you add into the disagreement that we are discussing subject matter related to our children you have a potentially combustible situation where they can be made to feel like we are not being listened to or that our opinions are not being considered high enough. As a result, sometimes emotions can get the better of us and apologies have to be made.

Sometimes that involves simply holding your tongue and not saying the first thing that comes to your mind when you begin to argue with your Co-parent. Sometimes it feels really good at the moment to say something hurtful or derogatory about someone else. That person may have done something to you that was hurtful and you feel like you are merely returning the favor and saying something back to him or her period however, in the long run, this is very rarely a productive way to approach the subject of Co-parenting. Even if you think that your Co-parent is disregarding your opinion or otherwise being unfair there are ways for you to attack that issue without resorting to name-calling or finger-pointing. Doing this will almost always put you in a position where you are setting yourself up for more disagreement and acrimony with your Co-parent in the future.

For that reason, I think there is only so much you can do when it comes to co-parenting with someone that does not show you respect. When you find yourself in a position where you are not being respected, in your opinion is being disregarded you have to make a decision. How much more can you go on with this type of arrangement where the relationship is not working. Even if the two of you are not in a romantic relationship you certainly have a co-parenting relationship. Sometimes You may need to go to certain lengths to Make sure that you can have a meaningful relationship with your child. To do this you may face more challenges than other parents Given the relationship that you have, or rather do not have, with your Co-parent. 

In that case, what can you do to ensure that you and your Co-parent can communicate as equals regarding your children? Sometimes if you are a father you can be made to feel like you are less than the mother because the child does not live with you. Do mothers in Texas have greater rights to their children? Will you always have to listen to what she wants instead of what you think is necessarily best for the child? These are the type of important questions that the attorneys with the law office of Brian Fagan are asked on a near-daily basis by Southeast Texas fathers. Due to many different types of circumstances, you may be in a position where your child does not live with you full time. The ability to visit with your child may also be limited if your Co-parent and you have a bad relationship.

What is a good father to do in that situation when you consider the challenges that come with parenting a child with someone that does not respect you or your opinions? Wishing that the mother would simply go away and leave you and the child alone is probably not feasible. Nor is it in the best interest of the child. Also, there are challenges in the relationship given that mothers frequently excel in certain areas whereas fathers excel in others. It is important to be able to balance the relationship so that your child gets the best of all worlds. However, what happens when your child’s mother is not willing at all to see things from your perspective? If you are constantly being disrespected and are never able to see your child then you have some important decisions to make in your personal life. What can you do to benefit your child’s life and allow him or her to see you more frequently?

The significance of being an unmarried father

I decided to write today’s blog post to point out that there are some significant pieces of information that an unmarried father needs to know compared to a married father. Simply put, being an unmarried father carries with it some challenges and duties at the beginning of the relationship that married fathers do not have To deal with. Bear in mind that many of these challenges can be dealt with quickly and then never really brought up again. However, we need to be proactive as a father in attending to these issues. These are not subjects that your child’s mother can take care of for both of you.

In simple terms, everyone knows who the mother of a child is. There is no need for a maternity test. The biological differences between men and women give mothers a clear-cut beginning point of the relationship with the child. That will begin once the mother becomes pregnant. However, for fathers, it is a little trickier. Most notably, you may be in a position where there is a question as to whether or not you are the father of a child at all.

What happens if you believe that you are the father to a child but the mother is not quite as sure. She may have a legitimate belief that another man is the father of the child in question. Or, she may purposely be trying to keep you out of her and the child’s life by denying that you are the father. What can you do in a situation like that to protect your paternity rights in asserting yourself in the life of a child?

What you as an unmarried father need to know is that there is no presumption that you are the child’s father. This is true even if you are that child’s biological parent. For married men, this is not a problem. So long as the child is born during the marriage or within a certain number of days after a divorce, it is presumed that the child is that man’s biological son or daughter. No additional loops have to be jumped through when it comes to that subject. However, the same presumption does not apply to unmarried fathers. 

In the case of an unmarried father like yourself, additional steps need to be taken by a mother and father to establish paternity in a legal sense. Much of the time this involves fairly simple actions. however, it could be that more complicated steps have to be taken in the event of a disagreement on this subject between yourself and the child’s mother. While all parties there should be in agreement on the subject I’m sure we can all think of someone in our lives who has been impacted by a situation involving a disagreement on paternity. In that case, additional steps need to be taken in terms of verifying and establishing paternity. This is a subject that nobody wants to make a mistake on and everyone wants to get right for the benefit of the family and most notably for the child.

The first step in this process is frequently one that involves paternity testing. When it comes to testing fraternity this is often done in a circumstance where a mother and a father disagree on who the biological father is. Paternity testing is oftentimes ordered through a formal legal proceeding known as a suit to establish paternity. If you are a man who believes that you are the biological father of a child then you could file a suit to establish paternity in a Texas family law court. As part of that lawsuit, you could request that DNA testing be done to help establish paternity. Even if you do not request DNA testing specifically to be done a family court judge would likely order the testing to be done anyways. 

As part of the DNA testing, the cheek of a child would be swabbed along with your own. This could be performed inside of the courtroom, at a doctor’s office, at a child support office of the attorney general of Texas, or through a testing facility. About one month after the testing date you would have your results. DNA testing is around 99% effective at being able to determining the paternity of a child. Once paternity is established in you you would be able to move forward and work with the court at establishing child custody, child support, possession, and visitation orders. It is only then that you can do so after you are legally determined to be the father of a child. If there is disagreement on this subject with the child’s mother the most likely route that you must take to determine paternity involves DNA testing.

On the other hand, if you and your child’s mother agree on you’re being the child’s biological father then the situation is much less complicated. In that case, there will be no need to file a lawsuit at all. Rather, both you and the child’s mother could simply sign a document known as an egg knowledge Minton of paternity. And knowledge Minton of paternity can be obtained at a child support office, hospital, or simply pulled off of the Internet. When you complete one of these forms you and the mother would both attest to your being a child’s biological father. When you file the form with the Bureau of vital statistics in Austin you would legally be determined as the father of the child.

From there, you could go through the courts or simply contact the office of the attorney general to get child support orders set up. If you and the mother agree on your being the child’s father but do not agree on much else it is probably best that you both hire experienced family law attorneys to move forward with a formal child custody case. Even then, you will be given ample opportunity to negotiate on the subject of child custody, and visitation with child support.

Last, if you find yourself in a position where you are being alleged as the father of a child but disagree that you are then you would file a petition to establish paternity. Along with this you could also file a denial of paternity with the court and ask for genetic testing. If you find yourself in this type of position you need to do this as soon as you possibly can after the birth of a child.

The reason for this is that even though you have time in a legal sense to challenge paternity if you are legally determined to be the father of a child you can’t have child support assessed against you. This means that once you can effectively challenge paternity you may still be responsible for back child support that you failed to pay before having your parental rights terminated. Back child support comes with interest and other penalties oftentimes. So, even if you are not the father of a child if you find yourself in a position where you are having child support assessed against you you must work to terminate your parental rights immediately. Delaying this process can cost you a great deal of money and it can also harm a child who was innocent in this entire process.

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 are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.`