Does Paternity Establishment affect Visitation and Custody?

Dad walking with his daughter in a park - Child Visitation Schedules

Establishing paternity is the first step to getting child custody or visitation rights in Texas. It also carries other rights and responsibilities with it such as requiring the father to provide support for the child and allowing the child to inherit from the father in the event of the father’s death.

It is not necessary to establish paternity if the parents are married at the time of the child’s birth. In that case, it is automatically assumed that the husband is the father’s child, and his name is included on the birth certificate. Paternity can also be voluntarily established at the time of the child’s birth or shortly after. The father simply needs to sign a form called an acknowledgment of paternity.

It is also possible to establish voluntary paternity after the time for signing the acknowledgment of paternity has passed. A Dallas family lawyer may be able to assist parents at this time in obtaining the paternity order. The parents must agree about custody, visitation and health care. The attorney may also be able to assist the parents if the mother’s husband was not the child’s father but the husband was listed on the birth certificate.

Paternity may also be established even if the father is unwilling to acknowledge the child. A mother can get a court order that compels the father to submit to DNA testing. A father can also get assistance from an attorney in establishing paternity if he believes he is the father of a child but the mother is denying him access.

Having a relationship with the father can be critical to a child’s well-being and development. It can also be important for a mother who can draw on the financial help the father is required to provide. For fathers, the process of struggling to get custody or visitation rights to a child when the mother is trying to block access can be heartbreaking. In all of these situations, a Dallas family lawyer such as Robert Thornton may be able to help.

Robert Thornton blends a no-nonsense approach to family law with compassion and works to get the best possible outcome for parents and children. Thornton Law is dedicated to helping parents and children even when the traditional ties of marriage have been dissolved or do not exist, and the firm has a record of positive outcomes in family law cases.

Establishing paternity can mean that the parents share custody of the child, or the child may have a visitation schedule that includes some weekends and weekdays with one parent while living primarily with the other parent.

The office of the Texas Attorney General has more information on establishing paternity. If you are in Dallas, Texas, contact Thornton Law to discuss your case and the ways in which the firm may be able to assist you in establishing paternity and helping you get the best result for your child and your family.

For more information on our Dallas Child Support Attorney, please visit our site.

Child Support Modificatons

Child support, primary custody and visitation can be changed later. Texas law says these things can be changed if there is a material change in circumstances of the child or party. Material means important or substantial.

For child support, a party could lower child support if they can prove they make less money, and it is not their fault. You may also increase the amount someone owes in child support if they have begun to make more money.

For custody, an order can be modified to protect the safety of a child. Visitation can be changed to help a parent see their child more often. A parent may even want to decrease their visitation because of work. In some cases, it is better to have a visitation order reflect what you can actually do. To not exercise visitation that you have a right to can reflect poorly in later litigation.

Can I request a modification in the amount I pay for Child Support?

Many people in Addison ask the question, can I request a modification in the amount that I pay for child support? The answer is yes, but there are some parameters that your request must fall into to have a chance at being approved by the judicial system. A new court order will need to be obtained so it is important to follow the due process of law to have a favorable outcome.

The Guidelines to Become Eligible for a Modification of Child Support Payments in Texas

In Dallas, Texas, an individual must show just cause as to why they need a modification.

Some of these reasons include the following:

The noncustodial parent’s financial circumstances have changed. This would have likely resulted in a job loss or a reduction in the parent’s income;
More than three years have passed since the court order was issued and the support amount awarded would have differed by at least twenty percent or more if calculated by today’s guidelines;
The noncustodial parent’s salary has increased;
The noncustodial parent is now legally and financially responsible for additional children in their household;
The minor child/children’s health insurance coverage has been changed;
The minor child/children’s living arrangements have been adjusted.

Preparing for the Modification Process

You will need to produce information about your personal income and health insurance coverage costs for the minor children to show your justification for the modification. The court wants to ensure that the children involved benefit from the incomes of both parents.

Income information that can be submitted for review include the following:

Copies of paystubs
Tax forms such as W2 and 1099
An offer letter from a prospective employer that lists earnings and has a valid signature for verification.

It is important to know that you should not stop paying your child support payments because you can wind up behind bars for being in contempt of a court order. It can take several weeks for your paperwork to be reviewed. The court typically either conducts a review or holds a hearing. It can be helpful to speak to the other parent involved to try and come up with an amicable agreement regarding support. This can expedite the modification process.

How a Family Lawyer Can Help You with Getting a Child Support Modification

Robert Thornton can be a great advocate for your child support case. Many parents feel overwhelmed by the legal work involved in a child support review. It is better to leave this responsibility to the legal experts so that everything is done correctly and timely.

Robert will sit down with you and get all of the facts straight so that a determination can be made if there is enough cause to pursue a review. A legal consultation is not a commitment and can be in your best interests. It is important to have someone fighting on your side. Consider calling Thornton Law today so that you can get the best legal help available.

For more information on our Dallas Child Support Attorney please visit our site.