In the case where an unwed couple has children, what happens regarding child custody and child support? Is it handled the same way as with legally-married parents?
Eric Higgins’s Answer:
In Texas, once the identification of the mother and the father has been determined, the Family Code treats those unwed parents the same as if they had been married. Their marital status doesn’t provide any additional benefits, so if we have a paternity case and we determine who the father of the child is, then the same presumptions, the same conservatorship model, the same support provisions, the same possession and access presumptions, apply to those parents – regardless of whether they have been married or not. The overriding standard by which decisions will be made by the court will be the best interests of the children; once we jump the paternity hurdle, then we’re essentially in the same type of case just as though the parents were married.