McKinney Parental Rights Lawyer
Serving Parents in Collin, Denton, & Dallas Counties, TX
Parental rights are an essential aspect of family law in Texas. Regardless of marital status, both parents have certain rights and duties towards their children, as prescribed under Chapter 151 of the Texas Family Code.
These rights include the right to make decisions regarding the child's education, medical treatment, and moral and religious upbringing. They also encompass the responsibility to provide care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline.
Texas law does not discriminate parental rights based on gender. Both parents are viewed equally and are presumed to be "joint managing conservators," meaning they share decision-making responsibilities for their child(ren). This principle applies unless evidence proves such an arrangement would not be in the child’s best interests.
If you have an issue with parental rights, whether it involves divorce, separation, paternity, or the violation of any court order, our experienced parental rights attorney at Petitt Family Law can help. We routinely advocate for the rights of the parents under our care in all Texas family law matters, whether through negotiation, other dispute resolution methods, or in court.
Parental Rights Issues in Texas.
Parental rights generally revolve around child custody, visitation, and child support. These two issues are central to the rights of both mothers and fathers, whether divorced, separated, or never married. Generally, in these cases, one parent is established as the “custodial” parent (who spends the most time with the child), while the other is the “noncustodial” parent.
The Rights of Noncustodial Parents
In Texas, noncustodial parents—those who do not have primary physical custody of their children—still retain certain parental rights. These rights are designed to ensure that the noncustodial parent remains involved in their child's life and can contribute to important decisions about their upbringing.
One of the primary rights of a noncustodial parent is visitation, often referred to as "access" or "possession." A standard possession order (SPO) typically grants the noncustodial parent visitation on the first, third, and fifth weekends of each month, along with one weeknight per week. A noncustodial parent can also request a visitation agreement to guarantee specific parental times and days with the child.
Noncustodial parents also retain the right to access information regarding their child's health, education, and welfare. They can consult with the other parent before making decisions regarding these areas.
These rights can be limited or even denied in certain circumstances, such as if the parent has a history of family violence or neglect.
Child support is also generally the responsibility of the noncustodial parent. The court usually determines the amount of child support based on the noncustodial parent's income.
You can seek legal recourse if you believe your parental rights are being violated. Our experienced family law attorney can help navigate this complex process, advocating for your rights and the child’s best interests.
Texas law presumes a man to be the father of a child if he is married to the mother at the time of the child's birth or if he voluntarily acknowledges his paternity. However, if the paternity of a child is in question, a paternity action may be necessary to establish the father’s parentage legally.
This process can involve genetic testing and can be initiated by either parent or by the state. Establishing paternity is crucial as it impacts child custody, visitation rights, and child support. An unmarried father who has not voluntarily acknowledged paternity earlier must later establish his paternity to play an active part in his child’s life.
Conversely, an unmarried mother can seek to establish a father’s paternity to file for child support from him.
Unmarried fathers in Texas often need to act quickly to establish and protect their parental rights, especially if there's a possibility that their child may be placed for adoption.
Termination of Parental Rights
Termination of parental rights in Texas is a serious matter and can only be ordered by a court. It means the parent has no legal rights or responsibilities towards the child. Termination can be voluntary, such as when a parent consents to an adoption, or involuntary, often due to reasons like abuse, neglect, abandonment, or failure to support the child.
Protecting Your Parental Rights in Texas
As a parent, it's important to understand and protect your rights under Texas law. Our experienced McKinney parental rights lawyers are dedicated to helping parents navigate the complex legal issues that may arise in family law cases. Whether you are facing a custody dispute, paternity case, or termination of parental rights, we are here to provide the guidance and advocacy you need.
Some of the key parental rights issues we can assist with include:
- Establishing and modifying custody and visitation agreements
- Defending against false allegations of abuse or neglect
- Asserting the rights of noncustodial parents to maintain a meaningful relationship with their children
- Navigating the legal process of establishing paternity and parental rights
- Protecting parental rights in cases involving termination of parental rights
At Petitt Family Law, we understand the importance of preserving the parent-child relationship and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and the best interests of your children.
Melody was easy to work with, listened to what I had to say, and helped me navigate a complicated divorce. Her knowledge of the law made it easy to feel confident in our case. She was very professional and could not have been more thorough. I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a great attorney who is willing to fight for you.- Taylor
Melody handled my case with care & logic. She challenged me when I was leading with emotional rather than logic, and understood when she needed to pull back. She was an excellent partner through the whole process, and I have already recommended her to others.- Anonymous
Simply the best lawyer I have ever had. I have had the pleasure of having her work on my case for a year. She is full of information and guidance. She is not afraid to tell you if what you think is a bad move and direct you in the right direction. She will not let you down.- Anonymous
Melody Petitt handled my case quickly and thoroughly. I was so happy with her dedication to keeping my family and I safe and getting the proper legal measures in order. She was able to get my Protective Order filed and eventually won while keeping me informed and confident through the whole thing. I would highly recommend her to anyone.- Anonymous
Responsive, efficient, so knowledgeable about the law and what you need to get through the process. Melody and Stacy are a dynamic pair that you can trust to have your best interests in mind always. Love them.- Kayti
Melody and the firm’s staff gave us excellent assistance in our successful effort to gain custodial control of our grandson. She guided us through the process, timely filed all documents and gave us great representation in the court proceedings.- Steven
Excellent, professional and knowledgeable staff. Always ready to serve your family law requests.- Ross
As a single father living in a different state, Melody was knowledgeable about Family Law regarding my specific circumstance. She was personable and well versed in jurisdictional law in Texas and interprets the law similarly to the Court. Melody was respectful of my want to minimize cost but did not cut corners either. Melody and her staff was was communicative throughout the process. You will not find a better attorney than Melody Petitt!- Darryl
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Attorney Melody Petitt has over 2 decades of family law experience.
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