Fathers in Texas have certain legal rights upon separation or divorce, including custody and visitation. During divorce, certain steps may help assure that fathers’ rights are protected, and fathers must recognize these steps to assure that fair settlement.

Fathers should close-out joint accounts, cancel credit cards and move their financial records to another location. This prevents their divorcing spouse and their attorney from accessing those accounts. A post office box should be opened for private mail. And, a written record should be kept of all events relating to the divorce that includes names and dates.

Fathers should not maintain an expensive life-style, buy expensive items, such as a car or a boat, or move in with a single woman during the divorce process. They should not move out of their house or voluntarily pay for anything, unless there is a court order requiring these actions.

Fathers should also prepare for child custody issues. However, they should not discuss criticisms of their spouses with their children and make them suffering participants in the divorce process. The children should be kept out of court proceedings, if possible.

During trial, fathers should attend all proceedings, such as depositions and court hearings, and keep documents that were also sent to their attorney. Fathers should claim children that they are supporting as tax exemptions and seek specific visitation, if custody is not awarded to them. Fathers should also change beneficiaries to wills, trusts and insurance policies, unless a court order forbids these changes.

A father should not agree to spousal support without special circumstances or consent to child support based solely on income because both parents are financially responsible. Agreements to pay medical bills should not be unconditional.

Fathers should retain their own attorney experienced in family law issues to help protect their legal rights. An attorney may also help fathers attempt an out-of-court settlement to resolve disputes.