Fathers’ Rights

Fathers' Rights - Family Law Attorney Sonya B. CoffmanBoth mothers and fathers have certain rights as to their children. These rights, however, are not absolute; meaning, they can be modified or limited by court order, an affidavit relinquishing parental rights or an affidavit designating another person or agency to act as managing conservator of the children.

Subject to these potential modifications and limitations, Texas law–like the law in most states–holds that parents–including fathers–have the following rights regarding their minor children:

  • Right to physical possession. Parents–including fathers–have the right to physical possession of their children and/or to designate the physical location of their children’s residence.
  • Right to direct moral and religious training. Parents–including fathers–have the right to direct their children’s moral and religious training. However, a parent’s religious beliefs, teachings and practices can be grounds for terminating the parent-child relationship or denying custody if the teachings and practices of the parent’s religious beliefs are illegal, immoral or harmful to the children.
  • Right to decide about education. Parents–including fathers–have the right to make decisions about their children’s education. Generally, a child between the ages of 6 and 18 must attend public school unless the child attends private school or is home-schooled.
  • Right to discipline. Parents–including fathers–have the right to use reasonable corporal punishment to discipline their children.
  • Right to consent. Parents–including fathers–have the right to consent to their children’s (i) marriage, (ii) enlistment in the armed forces, (iii) medical and dental care, (iv) psychiatric, psychological and surgical treatment, and (v) immunizations.
  • Right to represent child. Parents–including fathers–have the right to represent their children in legal actions and make legal decisions significantly impacting them. A parent’s right to make legal decisions for a child, however, does not give the parent the power to dismiss a child’s legal claims, including a cause of action for personal injuries.
  • Right to services and earnings. Parents–including fathers–have the right to receive the services and earnings of their children. If, however, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has been appointed managing conservator of the children and the children have been placed in a foster home or child-care institution, the children have the right to any money earned during their placement.
  • Right to manage support payments. Parents–including fathers–have the right to receive child support payments and hold or disburse funds for the benefit of their children.
  • Right to inherit. Parents–including fathers–have the right to inherit from and through their biological and/or adopted children.

Recent studies show that children without responsible parents–more specifically, responsible fathers–involved in their lives are prone to perform poorly in school, abuse drugs and alcohol and engage in criminal activity. Fathers–don’t let yourself be marginalized and, in the process, harm your children. If you need help securing or modifying your rights as a father, call Sonya Coffman. Because . . . family matters.