The number of fathers’ rights advocacy groups has grown steadily in recent years. You’ll even find divorce attorneys who market themselves as father’s rights lawyers. If you’re a father fighting for custody or looking for advocates for fathers paying child support, where should you turn? There are numerous resources available to fathers seeking guidance and plenty of skilled divorce attorneys capable of fighting for your rights. Here’s where to look.
Let’s first discuss fathers rights advocacy groups and what they do
One of the primary goals of fathers’ rights advocacy groups is to push for reforms in the family courts and via the state legislatures to support the equal rights of fathers in regard to custody and child support. Most any father advocacy group you engage with will also provide resources to educate fathers about their rights and how to be great dads.
Traditional parenting roles have changed dramatically since the “Leave It To Beaver” days, where most fathers were breadwinners who went off to work each day, while most mothers handled the majority of child-rearing duties and maintaining the family home.
Advocacy for fathers has grown as more dads have taken on parenting duties that were previously deemed to be mom’s responsibility. Today, more and more mothers have assumed the primary breadwinner role, with fathers playing a much larger role in raising their kids, getting them to extracurricular activities, helping with homework and taking time off work to shuttle children to doctor’s visits.
As traditional parental roles changed, states like Texas shifted to prioritizing “what is in the best interest of the child” in family court. Still, many fathers assert that equal rights for divorced fathers need to evolve further. These fathers are seeking equity regarding what they pay for child support and custody of younger children who more often than not remain in the custody of their mothers who are assumed to be the more nurturing parent during a child’s “tender years.”
I’ve been a family law attorney in Texas for nearly 20 years, and I can tell you, we are seeing more fathers winning primary custody of their children than ever before. It’s still difficult for a father to become the primary conservator of a child ages 0 to 5 but I’ve helped many fathers overcome that hurdle by showing the judge that it is in the best interest of the child to live with dad vs. mom. There are plenty of loving, nurturing dads out there, and our firm is honored to fight and be a father’s advocate for those dads!
Where can you find fathers rights advocacy groups in Texas?
Just like California has California fathers’ rights groups, Texas has a plethora of father groups advocating for father rights and providing resources for loving dads who want to be the best parents possible. Many national fathers advocate groups also have satellite offices in Texas. A few resources include:
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services offers a list of Texas Fatherhood Initiative Programs here. This list also includes helpful links to state and national organizations and resources for fathers.
The American Coalition for Fathers and Children refers to itself as “America’s Shared Parenting Organization” and says it “promotes equal rights for all parties affected by issues of the modern family.” Visit ACFC’s Facebook page here.
The National Parents Organization is a proponent of shared parenting and protecting children’s rights “to the love and care of both parents after separation and divorce.” You can check out their resources page here.
These are just a few of the resources available to fathers in Texas and nationwide. You can also find a number of support groups and divorced fathers’ network groups by contacting your place of worship or the county where you reside for guidance.
How to find an attorney who will fight for father’s rights
Your first step is to look for a family law attorney who practices in the county where you and your children live. Checking online reviews and asking trusted friends and family members for referrals can also be very helpful. I don’t recommend restricting yourself only to attorneys who market themselves as father’s rights attorneys.
Any good attorney is going to fight for the best interest of the child and for their client’s rights, regardless of whether that client is a dad or mom. At the Sisemore Law Firm in Fort Worth, we advocate for all of our clients, and that means fighting for the best outcome based on each client’s individual circumstances.
Just because a lawyer markets himself or herself as a “fathers’ rights attorney” doesn’t mean they have a leg up over other family lawyers who have proven themselves in court. Experience and results matter most.
If you think you can walk into a father’s rights attorney’s office (or any family law attorney’s office for that matter) and expect to get everything you want in regard to child custody and child support, think again. That may be the case (if you have a solid case) but if you don’t have a solid case, your best bet is to hire an attorney who will help you set realistic expectations and has the experience and know-how to get you the best custody and child support arrangements possible.
Important things to know if you’re a father fighting for father’s rights
If you are a father who wants to make sure you’re treated fairly and equitably as a parent, the best place to start is to make sure you know your rights. Understanding your rights is priority one, and a reputable attorney can explain those rights to you.
For example, Texas Family Code Chapter 151 enumerates specific parental rights and duties for which you and/or the other parent can be deemed responsible. Some of these parental rights include the right to make decisions regarding the child’s residence, education, medical needs, as well as the right to direct moral and religious training among others.
Parental duties in Texas include the duty to support the child by providing clothing, food, shelter, education, medical and dental care. Texas parents also have the duty to care, control, protect and provide reasonable discipline for their children.
A good attorney will also help you set realistic expectations and determine whether it makes sense to spend thousands of dollars to fight for certain rights. They can also explain which rights are the most important rights to fight for and why.
If you’re a dad who didn’t win primary custody (or conservatorship as we call it in Texas), a good attorney can also help you take steps to restrict the other parent’s rights so you still have the ability to make certain decisions for your child. For example, you could agree to allow the other parent to make decisions about education, as long as the child attends a specific school in a designated school district.
We fight for fathers’ rights in Texas
If you’re a Texas father who wants what is best for your child and your goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for your case, our experienced Fort Worth family law attorneys will fight aggressively for you and your father’s rights.
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