Determining custody of a child in Texas differs depending on whether the parents are married or unmarried. If a couple is married at the time a child is born, the husband is considered to be the legal father. The same is true if the parents are married at any point between conception and birth. However, this doesn't mean that an unmarried father can't obtain recognition of his legal parental rights.
The birth mother and the presumed father can sign a voluntary paternity acknowledgement form. Such a form can be signed and executed at the hospital or anytime after the child is born, and the father's name is included on the child's birth certificate after that occurs. However, it may be necessary to compel an individual to recognize paternity of a child. A court may order a potential father to submit to DNA or blood testing.
After a test confirms that an individual is the father of a child, he may be ordered to pay child support based on both parent's income and other factors. At any point prior to a court order being issued, the child's mother and the presumed father may come to their own parenting agreement. For instance, a father may offer to make a one-time payment in lieu of future child support payments.
Usually, custody is determined based on the child's best interests. However, the other parent may still be allowed visitation and the ability to contact the child by phone or through digital means. An attorney may be able to establish that a parent should be allowed to either have custody or visitation rights. This may be established by pointing to a financial ability to provide for the child or the existence of a strong relationship between parent and child.