Although Texas fathers play a critical role in the happiness and health of their children, obtaining custody can be a challenge. If you and your child’s mother have split and were not married, establishing paternity is essential for defending your rights as a dad. However, it is only the first step in the process of obtaining full or joint custody.
According to the Child & Family Research Partnership at the University of Texas, children with fathers actively involved in their lives experience better cognitive development and self-esteem. You can take steps that help the court view you favorably, even if the mom doesn’t want you sharing your child’s life.
Pay child support on time
Whether you have an informal arrangement with your ex or a formal agreement filed with the court, making child support payments as scheduled. If the arrangement is informal, make sure you keep documentation, including any check receipts. Judges typically look favorably upon dads who make their child’s needs and care a priority.
Maintain a close relationship
Raising a child takes time and effort. Make sure you take part in all aspects of his life. Spend time with him often, go to school functions and get to know his friends. If he doesn’t spend time at your home now, make sure you have space specifically for him. A judge will ask about the living arrangements and the steps you take to ensure your child’s comfort before granting custody.
Develop a parenting plan and have it ready for the judge. Address time-sharing, best communication method with your ex and outline responsibilities. List who is responsible for routine activities, health care and school matters to ensure you address all aspects of your child’s life.