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Can Presumed Fathers Pursue Custody Rights in Texas Divorce?

Divorce may end your relationship with your wife but it does not break the bond between you and your children. Unfortunately, I have seen divorce cases where my clients learn for the first time they are not the biological fathers of the children they love. The good news is that Texas law does not necessarily require a blood relationship between father and child to establish the rights of legal fatherhood. Those rights include the ability of presumed fathers to pursue full custody, if appropriate, during divorce.

A number of factors affect the abilities of men to obtain recognition as presumed fathers under Texas law. Section 160.204 of the Uniform Parentage Act presumes paternity when men meet certain requirements:

  • A child is born during marriage to the mother.
  • A child is born before the 301st day after the termination of a marriage, whether by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity or divorce.
  • A child is born after marriage but the man voluntarily asserted paternity of the child, for example, if he agreed to have his name listed as father on the birth certificate.
  • A child resided continuously in a household with the man, who represented to others that the child was his own.

Regardless of any biological surprises your wife reveals during the divorce process — or even if you knew the truth but voluntarily represented yourself as the father — you may have rights as the legal father of your child. However, these situations can make divorce more complex; you need support from a Texas divorce lawyer with specific experience in paternity law.

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Robert Reid McInvale
Attorney at Law

Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Houston. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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