Legal Question in Family Law in Texas

Can a non-paternal father gain custody rights?

A friend was in a relationship with a girl when she got pregnant. Paternity was questioned at first, but he decided to raise the child. They broke up two years after the baby was born, and a paternity test was done. He was not the biological father of the child. The biological father wishes to sign over his rights to custody of the child to the mother. The non-biological father raised the child for two years and has his name on the birth certificate, the child has his last name. He wants to come to a custody arrangement with the mother, but he is worried about his rights as a non-biological father. What chance would he have at gained some sort of joint custody, and what are his rights in this situation? He wants to be a father to the child and not turn his back on the baby he has so far raised simply because they are not related by blood.

Asked on 3/31/02, 12:24 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Pfister, Jr. Pfister & Associates

Re: Can a non-paternal father gain custody rights?

Your friend's request is very admirable. I see real fathers all the time who dont want anything to do with their children.

To answer your question, though, in order for your friend as a non-biological father of the child to have standing (ie the right) to seek custody he either needs the mother's consent to adopt the child and the court's approval or he must have had actual custody and control of the child for six months. You didnt mention how long ago he had the child nor if he has custody now. In any event, it is a difficult position that the mother has created by leading someone to believe they were the father when in fact they were not. Hope this helps.

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Answered on 3/31/02, 3:18 pm

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