Unmarried couples in Texas and around the country often have children. In many circumstances, both parents stay actively involved in the children's lives. However, in a recent case in another state, a man was unaware he is the father to twins, a girl and a boy. Now he is involved in a complicated child custody case.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Going through a divorce is often a highly emotional experience for those involved. It can be even more stressful when children are involved. Many couples in Texas and throughout the country attempt to negotiate child custody agreements that are in the best interest of their children. In most cases, these agreements are properly followed and all parties continue with their day-to-day activities. However, when a former spouse disregards the terms of an agreement, a difficult situation can quickly worsen.
There are not many places in the country where a woman can safely raise her child if that child was conceived during a sexual assault. In many states, she may have to face her attacker on a regular basis if he decides to seek child custody. Forty-three states have some limited protections under such circumstances, and eight of those states enacted those protections just this year. Texas may have one of the most victim-friendly laws on the books.
Parents in Texas and beyond typically want what is best for their children. When a divorce occurs, former spouses may disagree on how to interpret their children's best interests. Such disagreements often lead to drawn out debates and contentious courtroom battles, with strong emotions evoked on both sides. Settling child custody issues may prove difficult unless outside intervention is sought.
According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 percent of births in Texas and elsewhere in 2014 were to unwed mothers. That accounts for over a million children. When children are born to married couples, the state assumes that both parents equally share the rights and responsibilities of raising the child. However, when parents are not married, fathers typically must have their child custody rights established by court decisions, especially if the parents are no longer a couple.
Divorced parents in Texas may dread interactions with former spouses. However, if there are children involved, this cannot be avoided. Child custody often involves sharing information and updating one another about schedules, school concerns and health issues. Fortunately, technology is keeping up with the need for stress-free communication between co-parents and even step parents. There are numerous apps available to assist families in communicating effectively.
Parental alienation happens when one parent turns a child against the other parent. This often occurs in a divorce when one parent is unwilling to give up even part of child custody. That parent may brainwash the child against the co-parent even if the co-parent previously had a good relationship with the child. Any parent in Texas who has experienced this kind of alienation understands the heartbreak and the long lasting consequences.
Texas families typically undergo significant periods of adjustment after divorce. When children are involved, the process may take some time. It can be difficult for children to adapt to new lifestyles after being used to living with both parents under one roof. Child custody matters can pose serious legal challenges and often evoke strong emotions on both sides of this family law issue.
Texas couples no doubt face many challenges in a divorce. After divorce, it is not uncommon for continued legal challenges regarding child custody issues to arise. In order to make certain that your parental rights are protected and the best interests of your children served, it is advisable to act alongside the experienced guidance of a family law attorney.
Every legal rule can be anticipated to have some exceptions. The law seeks to be flexible and rearrange its principles with the changing needs and circumstances of the times. One general rule in family law is that a stepfather will not be liable to pay child support to the biological mother. The rule, however, may possibly be modified in Texas and other states to impose child support obligations on a stepfather when certain facts are present.