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Collin County Child Custody LawyerWhen parents are married, a child’s paternity is usually not in doubt. Since a mother’s spouse is presumed to be a child’s parent, a married father will be able to share in child custody if the couple chooses to get a divorce. However, matters related to custody can become more complicated if a couple is unmarried, and in these situations, fathers may need to establish paternity. This will ensure that both parents will have the obligation to provide child support and meet their children’s financial needs. For unmarried parents, it is important to understand when paternity may need to be established and the procedures for doing so. 

Presumption of Paternity in Texas

There are certain situations where a man will be legally presumed to be the father of a child. This means that regardless of whether the parents remain married, are in an unmarried relationship, or are separated or divorced, the father will have the right to share child custody. Depending on agreements between the parents or decisions made in family court, a father may participate in making decisions about how children will be raised (known as legal custody or conservatorship), and he will have the right to reasonable possession and access of the child (visitation). He will also have the obligation to financially support the child, or if he has primary physical custody, he may receive child support from the child’s mother.

According to the Texas Family Code, a man is presumed to be a child’s father if he meets one of the following requirements:

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Collin County Child Custody LawyerThere are multiple types of situations where parents will need to address child custody issues. While this is most commonly a factor in divorce proceedings, parents who are unmarried may also need to determine how they will share custody of their children. In Texas, the legal custody of children is known as “conservatorship,” and parents will need to understand the rights and obligations that will apply to them, including in situations where parents are named as joint managing conservators or when one parent will have sole conservatorship of their children.

Rights of Sole or Joint Conservators

In most cases, family courts presume that it is best for parents to share joint conservatorship. However, there are some situations where sole conservatorship may be appropriate, including when one parent has not been closely involved in children's lives, when a parent lives in another state, or when a parent is accused of engaging in domestic violence. Even if one parent is named the sole managing conservator, the other parent may be named a possessory conservator, allowing them to spend regular visitation time with their children.

A parent who is named a joint or sole conservator of a child will have the following rights, and these rights will apply to them at all times:

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Common law marriage is a rapidly disappearing concept in American family law. This is reflected in the fact that very few states throughout the country recognize common law marriage in their legal system. Texas is among the few states left in the union which still recognize this unique institution. In this post, we will discuss the basics of common law marriage here in Texas, highlight how this institution can be created, and point out the contexts in which this institution has the most significance.

Basics of Common Law Marriage

Common law marriage – commonly known as “marriage without formalities” or “informal marriage” in Texas law – describes a relationship which has the outward appearance of marriage without the formality of marriage. In other words, the couple doesn’t have a certificate of marriage signed and approved by the state. The couple has many of the external signs of being married, such as living together, sharing bank accounts, sharing expenses, filing joint tax returns, and so forth.

If a marriage is in fact a common law marriage and is recognized as such by the state, then the couple will have the same privileges and benefits as couples who are formally married. Hence, the determination of whether a common law marriage is valid is a highly important matter.

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