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    Understanding
    Parental Responsibility
    Anyone in Texas who has children should know about parental responsibility

Decisions Regarding Children


During a divorce or split, many parents focus on what their rights are regarding their children. But one important issue is what duties the parent should be performing for their children. Parental responsibility belongs to the parent or parents who are involved in the decision making about the upbringing of the child. While the custodial parent may deal with the day to day issues and problems, there are certain times where anyone with parental responsibility should be involved.

  • A Parent's duty
    Basic Needs and Decisions

    In Texas, any important decisions regarding a child should be made by the party that has full parental responsibility. These decisions can include where the child attends school, providing routine medical care and access to medical records, and determining the appropriate religion for the child. Those with parental responsibility should also have a say in making decisions about consenting to urgent or emergency medical treatment, taking children for extended holidays or vacations, and representing the child in any legal issues or proceedings such as traffic tickets or criminal charges.

  • Who's Responsible
    Birth Parents and Others

    Even if parents are divorced or never married, mothers usually will have parental responsibility automatically according to Texas law, while married fathers can be given the same responsibility. Unmarried fathers, grandparents, step mothers, and step fathers are not automatically given parental responsibility. Unmarried fathers can gain responsibility when they are registered on the birth certificate, marry the mother, enter an agreement with the mother, or are given an order from the court. Grandparents and stepparents can apply for parental responsibility or visitation rights.

  • Transferring Responsibility
    In the Child's Best Interest

    While responsibility can be shared, it cannot be completely transferred to another individual. Even if the responsible parent delegates some of the decisions to a relative, friend, teacher, unmarried partner or baby-sitter, he or she is still responsible for making the ultimate choices when it comes to the child. Temporary caregivers can promote or safeguard the welfare of a child, but do not have responsibility. If an individual is concerned and feel they should have full responsibility, they may benefit from consulting with a family law attorney in Fort Worth, San Antonio, El Paso, Houston, or your local court system.

Protecting Children


Every parent should know and understand who has parental responsibility regarding their child to ensure that he or she is safe, cared for, and is provided with basic needs. Any parent or person who feels a child is in danger or is not being provided for should contact the proper government agency in Texas who will investigate the matter and take any necessary action.

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