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The rights of noncustodial parents in Texas

When parents are not living together in Texas, they must address the question of living arrangements for their children. While joint custody arrangements are becoming more common, there are still many cases where one parent has custody. Non-custodial parents should understand that they still have parental rights, even if they don't have physical custody of the children.

While the child may not live with the noncustodial parent, this individual still has the right to see their child, spend time with the child and know where the child is during other times. Unmarried people can legally establish paternity by signing the Acknowledgement of Paternity or petitioning the court. Having both names listed on the birth certificate is not legally binding for the purposes of establishing a relationship and custody arrangements. In cases where a man is concerned that the mother may place the unborn child up for adoption, he can work through the Department of State Health Services to have his name placed on the Registry of Paternity. There is no charge for registering, but it must be done before the baby is 31 days old.

Noncustodial parents are often required to pay child support. These payments are court ordered, and they cannot be altered without permission from the courts. If the parents decide to alter their custody agreement and the children are living with the noncustodial parent, any change in child support payments must still be approved.

Throughout the country, there are cases where the grandparents are raising a child. There are countless reasons why this may happen, and the grandparents may petition the court to receive child support payments from the natural parents of the child. An attorney can help people who are in this situation file the necessary paperwork for child support. Grandparents may also need special powers of attorney or other legal documents in order to sign the child up for school and make decisions about medical treatment.

Source: Office of the Texas Attorney General, "Handbook for noncustodial parents", October 09, 2014

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