If you have children and are separated from your spouse or partner, child custody is something you need to consider carefully. In some cases, you might get custody, and in others, you may not. If you don’t have custody, then you are the noncustodial parent.
As a noncustodial parent, you have some rights and responsibilities in Texas. Here are a few things that you should know.
Go to all hearings and court dates
If you don’t go to court, the court can make decisions about your children without your input. The court can order you to pay child support even if you do not attend court.
Read and understand anything you are signing
A legal document can still be binding even if you do not know what is in it. Read everything, and ask for clarification when you do not understand something.
Paternity testing is important
Establishing paternity is the first step in ensuring you owe child support. You can establish paternity by signing an Acknowledgment of Paternity if you are certain the child is yours. You can also take a blood test to establish paternity. Your name on a birth certificate does not legally mean the child is yours.
Opening a Child Support Case Can Protect Your Rights
Opening a child support case will protect your rights to visitation or partial custody. It is a way to protect yourself and ensure they credit your payments.
The child support system can be confusing and frustrating for noncustodial parents. Knowing your rights and responsibilities can help to cut through some of the more difficult parts.